Sports Nutrition Sample Plan for Optimal Performance

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High Protein, High Carb?

Many athletes feel that a high protein diet is the key to building more muscle and higher performance in athletics. Others feel that a high carb diet is essential. So, what exactly is the best nutrition plan for athletes? Actually, only about 15% protein is needed, along with 25-30% fat, and 55% carbohydrates. Most athletes get much more protein than is necessary, putting them at risk for ailments such as increased risk of heart disease and various forms of cancer. The following sports nutrition sample plan makes it easy to plan a pre or post workout meal.

Pre-Workout Meal

Plan to eat your pre-workout meal 1-4 hours before a sporting event or workout. Your pre-workout meal should be high in carbohydrates, which will be converted to glucose, the best energy source for exercise. Avoid junk foods before a sporting event. Although sugar can be beneficial to endurance athletes, complex carbs like fruits are a much healthier option. Try one of these meals 4 hours before a sporting event.

Pre-Event Breakfast

pancakes made from whole grain flour

blueberries sprinkled over pancakes

real maple syrup


Pre-Event Lunch

mixed fruit salad with yogurt dressing

whole grain crackers with a small amount of natural peanut butter


Pre-Event Dinner

vegetable lasagna with tomato sauce

whole grain bread

green salad with tomatoes and carrots

light vinaigrette dressing

plenty of water

Post Workout Meal

After the sporting event or workout session, you’ll need to take in some carbohydrates. This helps rebuild glycogen stores, to ensure energy during the next exercise session. For best results, add a bit of protein to your post-workout snack or meal. Eating a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio builds double the glycogen stores. Don’t go overboard on the protein though. Eating more protein than recommended can hamper rehydration, and reduce glycogen stores in the muscles. Before any snacks, be sure to rehydrate well. Drink plenty of water immediately after exercise, then 15-30 minutes later, have a snack. Here are some great snack ideas that conform to the 4:1 carb to protein ratio.

Peanut Butter Apples

Cut 1 apple cut into slices.

Dip apples into 1 tbs. peanut butter

Sprinkle the peanut butter apples with raisins.

Fruit/Protein Smoothie

1 banana, 3-4 strawberries

1 tbs. hemp protein, 1 cup apple juice, several ice cubes

Blend ingredients together till smooth and creamy.

Pear Salad

Slice 1 pear over 1 cup mixed greens.

Top with 1 oz. pecans, then sprinkle with 1 tsp. bleu cheese.

Drizzle with a light vinaigrette dressing.

Whether you’re serious about your sport, or just want better fitness results, a sports nutrition sample plan like this one can help you find the perfect pre or post workout meal. Super easy and delicious, these snacks and meals will ensure optimal sports performance.


1. NC State University: Nutrition: Pre and Post Workouts:

2. Prevention Magazine: Beat Post Workout Hunger:

3. Running Times: Refueling the Runner: Post Workout Nutrition: