Stay Fueled with Florida Fruit
|May 30, 2012||Posted by Chris M. under Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Produce|
As a competitive league tennis player, I often struggle to find ways to stay energized and pumped up during my matches. Tennis, like many other sports, is a mental and physical game. A lull in performance for just a few minutes can drastically change the outcome of a match from a win to a loss. That is why victory usually goes to the person who is more focused and has more fuel in the tank.
It is important to be prepared for all physical activities, and that includes bringing food and drinks to consume before, during, and after the physical activity. Only recently have I started incorporating locally-grown Florida fruit into my workout diet. Instead of products that are overly-sweet or taste “artificially sweet” like sports drinks, energy drinks, and candy bars, fruits like bananas and oranges have the perfect, natural sweet taste that acts as a perfect pick-me-up.
I used to drink a cup of coffee or an energy drink before a tennis match and gulp down sugary sports drinks during a match, which left me feeling erratically jumpy throughout. I would feel hindered and slowed down by my own body. Since then, I have switched to eating a couple pieces of (Florida-grown) watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, and a banana before the match, and eating another banana during the match. Together these fruits are high in anti-oxidants, beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and calcium. Potassium for example is important for normal muscular function in both voluntary muscles like arms and legs, and involuntary muscles like the heart. These fruits are naturally sweet and will keep your blood sugar levels stable without the crash afterwards.
After some grueling games I felt exhausted and the inside of my mouth was dry and tasteless. While still drinking plenty of water, I remember vividly how refreshing the banana tasted during a changeover. When play resumed I was pumped up and feeling dialed-in again. Although eating the fruit doesn’t guarantee any outcome on the match, I felt that I had a lot more left in the tank than my opponent did when the match was over (I won, by the way).
So remember to refuel the right way. Drink plenty of water and enjoy Florida’s nutrient-rich fruits before, during, and after any physical exercise. Doing so will keep you alert and focused to perform at your highest level and put forth your best effort. Besides, they’re good for your health, too.