Improve Your Sports Performance Without Substances

Competition is fierce, and as athletes, we are usually looking for any edge we can find to boost us to the head of the pack. Nutritional supplements, hormones, and other substances go down our throats with the thought that they will make us bigger, faster, and stronger. They may help some, but today let’s focus on some of the more natural ways we can give our performance a boost.


Knowledge is Power

Understanding how our bodies work is perhaps the best edge we can give ourselves. We need proper rest to allow rebuilding and regeneration of our muscles. Studies indicate that diverse types of rest can enable us to show vast improvements in the way we perform. A solid eight to eight and a half hours of sleep per night is what we suggest. Rest is our body’s reset button, and after a vigorous game or workout, we produce additional brain cells in the way of memory that we will be able to efficiently use in the coming days and weeks. You may also find that amount of rest makes you feel more cheerful as well! A great bonus! Our bodies are genuinely awesome thanks to the inherent design to rebuild. We have a few restful tips for you to consider:

  • Keep a sleep log for a few weeks and record the amount of sleep you get, the daily activities, and how you are feeling. Pay attention to the numbers to learn your optimal rest needs.
  • Are you a morning person or a night owl? If you can use morning light to help regenerate yourself as an owl, you’ll be ahead in the performance game. And the reverse is also true, using the evening light tends to make your inner clock later. Use light as a drug! Some athletes even use light boxes to help reset their body’s clock.


There are certain foods you can eat that help with performance as well.

  • Beets are great for your circulatory system. The nitrates reduce your oxygen use and therefore give you more endurance.
  • Maca is a Peruvian herb that you can find in powder form. Add this gem to your morning smoothie, and you’ll be able to work harder and for a more extended period.
  • The Omega-3s in salmon help you with muscle tone and strength. We suggest three servings each week for maximum results.
  • Antioxidants galore are in turmeric, and that is going to help you limit joint inflammation.
  • Green tea (yum) has bioflavonoids and quercetin which helps significantly with endurance. A cold drink of iced green tea before a game or workout is going to taste great and have you acting great!
  • Spirulina is a form of algae, which may not sound too good, but it’s proven to give you more energy to endure longer. Add a shot to that to your morning smoothie for an added jump to the day!
  • Rich in probiotics, full-fat yogurt is excellent for your immune system and grows healthy bacteria in your intestinal system.

Intake versus Output

Some athletes try to replace all the water and calories burned during a workout quickly, and that doesn’t work well because it results in an upset stomach. In most cases, hard workouts burn so many calories they can’t be replaced. Fluid intake is similar, so here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Fluid intake will vary by weather conditions, and staying hydrated is critical to a robust performance. A general rule is five to eight hundred milliliters of consumption per hour. Don’t plan to replace fluid output ounce for ounce with intake because that is going to create other problems none of us want to address. Follow the guideline above to reach your best level of performance.
  • The same is true for calories, if you try to take in as many as you expend, your performance is going to suffer. We suggest an estimated 300 calories per hour during exercise. Don’t worry about making up the difference between intake and output, that will come from your fat storage. Depending on your body weight, the hourly calories can be adjusted up or down accordingly.
  • When you think about “carbing up,” we suggest no simple sugars. Complex carbs are going to serve you much better. Simple sugars are inexpensive and unhealthy. While you may achieve a quick energy jolt, you can expect a similar crash shortly after that.
  • If you are planning more than two hours of physical activity, your body will be screaming for protein. Your best options are something with both complex carbs and protein.
  • In combination with exercise, soy beats whey. As you exercise, your body is producing ammonia and whey will add more ammonia, where soy isn’t as bad in the ammonia department. We like whey after a workout because ammonia production is low. It’s great for the immune system and for boosting tissue regeneration.
  • Liquids beat solids during games and workouts. A wee bit of solids is okay, but make it an exception and not the rule. Solid food is just harder to digest, and it takes longer too. Your tummy will thank you!


  • Don’t wait until you start getting spasms or cramps to begin replacing electrolytes. That is something you can do throughout your game or workout. Grateful for Gatorade here! Salt tablets are okay; however, they can be excessive, and they don’t provide potassium, calcium or magnesium, all of which you need during exercise.
  • As soon after your exercise as possible, give your body a dose of protein and carbs. That is going to help your weary muscles recover as well as replace lost nutrients.
  • If you feel like you need a meal, the best time to partake is at least three hours before you start your exercise. That gives your body time to digest. Don’t eat any later than that because it will harm your performance.
  • That said, if you’re starting early in the morning, don’t sacrifice sleep for your meal. Your stored energy is going to be there for you at game time. If you like, you can also try this as an option:
    • Eat a healthy, well-balanced meal the night before to top off your storage, it won’t go anywhere while you sleep.
      • Don’t get crazy and overeat! Focus on complex carbs, minimal fat and fiber and only a tiny bit of rice protein or soy. You’re just topping off your storage facilities, not storing nuts for the winter!
    • Five to ten minutes before start time, go ahead and eat one to two hundred, easily digestible calories.
    • Get proper rest the night before any big event to be at your best.

If you find that you want to experiment with different foods and drinks, please don’t do it the day before the game or race! Be sure you know how it will impact you before you hit “game day.”

Tell us how you prepare for a big sports event in your life. Do you have other natural performance enhancing secrets to share?

What Do You Think?

Improve Your Sports Performance Without Substances

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