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Stonyfield Tip of the Month: Getting in shape for spring competition

March 26, 2012 02:32 PM
Don't forget to get your nutrition routine back in shape.
The weather is getting warmer and the days longer—two very clear signals that it’s time to emerge from winter hibernation and get moving again. As you ease back into a routine of regular physical activity, don’t forget to get your nutrition routine back in shape too. Begin to focus on choosing the "right" foods to keep you energized as you increase your physical activity.
What are the "right" kinds of foods?
The extra energy you’ll need as you become more physically active should come from nutritious foods; you should choose foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals (nutrient-dense) and free from junk your body doesn’t need. In addition, you should pay close attention to how much water you are drinking. Staying hydrated will help you feel good before, during, and after exercise—especially as you begin to increase your activity level in warmer weather. If possible, carry a water bottle with you and drink throughout the day.
Use the table below to guide you toward the "best" food choices for a healthy, get-in-shape eating plan. Please note: You do not need to invest in energy bars or drinks to substitute for sound meals. Rather, energy bars are used for recovery after a strenuous workout when a meal is not available, and sport drinks are used during and after prolonged workouts–such as a tennis match that lasts more than one hour. Regular food will supply the best source of energy as you ramp up your physical activity.
Best Carbohydrate Choices   Poor Carbohydrate Choices
Whole wheat: pasta, rice, bread, pita, tortillas, English muffins, bagels, cereals Breads: Croissants, doughnuts, biscuits
Beans/peas: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils Desserts: pastries, pies, cake, cookies
Fruit: apples, bananas, grapes, nectarines, oranges, grapefruit, plums, berries, melons Fruits: fruit canned in syrup, "fruit" juices or drinks, fruit fritters
Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, collard greens, mushroooms, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, corn, eggplant, carrots, potatoes, squash, zucchini Vegetables: French fries, onion rings, vegetables cooked in butter, tempura, chips, vegetables topped with creamy sauce
Best Protein Choices Poor Protein Choices
Meat: white chicken or turkey, lean roast beef, fish, canned tuna (in water), lean baked ham, trimmed pork chops Meat: dark chicken or turkey, poultry with skin, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, fried or breaded chicken or fish
Dairy: 1%, 2% or NON-FAT: milk, dried milk, yogurt, cheese, egg whites, egg substitutes Dairy: whole milk, whole eggs, whole milk yogurt, regular cheese, butter
Vegetarian: beans, peas, low-fat nut butters, nuts/seeds, tofu Vegetarian: full-fat nut butters, candied nuts, refried beans, fried tofu
Best Fat Choices Poor Fat Choices
Healthy: fish, avocados, olives, olive oil, nuts Unhealthy: butter, margarine, fried food, fatty meat (bacon, pepperoni, bologna), chips, mayonnaise
Best Hydration Choices Poor Hydration Choices
Water (BEST!) Other: Soda, energy drinks, teas with added sugar
Juice: 100% juice Juice: "fruit" drinks or "ades"
*Choose organic whenever possible
As you focus on choosing high quality foods, be sure to determine how much food you need to maintain a healthy weight. Use a tool (such as this calculator) to help you match your calorie needs to your current level of physical activity. You may need to revise as you continue to become more active.
Ease into change
Changing your eating habits can be difficult—especially if you’re trying to get back on track after a long winter hiatus full of holiday indulgences. The key to success is to start slowly and ease into it. If you try to change everything all at once, you may find that you are overwhelmed and cranky, longing to revert back to bad habits. Instead, try to choose and adopt one good habit per week (use the table to help identify some good habits). For example, you could start by cutting out all sugary drinks during the day; drink water instead. Once you’ve successfully adopted that habit, try to choose only whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, then work toward having one or two servings of a fruit or vegetables at every meal. As you work back into shape, continue to adopt one new healthy eating habit each week. After a few weeks, your diet will look radically different, and because you only focused on one change per week, you won’t feel as though you had to go to drastic measures to make it happen.


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