Breakfasts of champions

Updated: 2013-12-29 08:08

(China Daily)

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Swap coffee for green tea. Green tea is full of antioxidants that alleviate the health risks from aerobic exercise in polluted air and satiates caffeine cravings. It also causes fewer digestive issues on race days, when your nerves may be on edge.

A cardinal rule for athletes of any stripe is to avoid adding new fare to your diet on competition day or the day before. You want to be sure you are running the course, and not to the bathroom, after the starter pistol.

Pre-race meals should include a good carbohydrate, some protein and a bit of fat. Good choices include congee (white rice with meat or fish bits and green vegetables), watermelon, mantou (steamed buns), vegetables, and stir-fried tomatoes with eggs. You can add fresh fruit or soy-based drinks to boost carbs.

Marathoners will need to supplement their runs with simple carbohydrate sources along the course. Dried fruit, such as parched apricots from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, is ideal.

Drink. Hydration is as important as food for a successful race.

Experts agree an athlete should eat a high-carb snack within 30 minutes of finishing a workout or race to accelerate recovery and reduce muscle soreness. Yogurt is a good choice because its whey protein accelerates muscle recovery. Soymilk offers a natural balance of easily digestible carbohydrates and protein that quickly restores the muscles' glycogen levels. Coconut milk is a super source of energy-rich carbohydrates and important minerals your body needs to replace after a hard workout. Bananas offer useful nutrients, too.

- China Daily

Breakfasts of champions

(China Daily 12/29/2013 page3)