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By Dr. Geoff Lecovin

MS., DC., ND., L.Ac. CSCS., CISSN, Dipl. Sports Nutrition (IOC)

Sat Jun 13, 2020

Ensuring Adequate Energy Intake

Adequate calories (energy) are essential  for maintaining ideal body weight, fueling activities, promoting recovery and ensuring health

energy pyramid

Practical Strategies to Meet Your Energy Needs

  • Aim for Three meals and 2-3 snacks 
  • Adjust your intake based on your activity needs 
  • Supplement with additional snacks and protein shakes to meet the energy demands of your sport if necessary


Is your HEC in check?

  • Hunger
  • Energy and Emotions
  • Sugar and salt cravings

If not, you need to eat more often.


Keep in mind the 3 T’s When Meal Planning

Failing to Plan= Planning to Fail

  1. Total– Match your caloric intake with your exercise requirements and goals
  2. Type- Focus on carbohydrates for energy, adequate protein for repair and healthy fats to minimize inflammation
  3. Timing– Time your meals for optimum energy before training sessions and games



Carbohydrates include sugars and starches. Their primary function is to provide energy for moderate-intense activity. 

Match fuel needs:

  • Low Intensity- 3-5g/kg BM
  • Moderate Intensity- 5-7 g/kg BW
  • Moderate-High Intensity (Endurance Program)- 6-10 g/Kg BM
  • Extreme- 8-12g/kg BM

Key points:

  • Consume low glycemic carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains, vegetables and fruits) as the primary source throughout the day, starting with breakfast
  • Add high glycemic carbohydrates just before a practice or game (e.g. bananas, juice, bars, carb/electrolyte drink) as well as during a game 


Proteins are essential for muscle growth and repair. Aim to eat 1.5-2.5 g/kg body mass per day.

There are two ways to categorize proteins:

  1. Complete – Animal sources, such as beef, poultry, pork, lamb, fish, eggs, dairy and plants such as  quinoa and soy
  2. Incomplete – Plants, such as grains, legumes, nuts and vegetables

Key Points:

  • Include some protein with each meal (about 0.4 g/kg body weight or 20-30g)
  • If you are vegetarian, make sure to balance complementary protein sources, e.g. Rice and beans


Fats and oils are typically categorized according to their saturation. The degree of saturation determines the melting point and stability of a fat. Aim to eat about 1g/kg body mass per day.


  • Energy source (low intensity activity) and energy storage
  • Hormone production
  • Inflammation


  • Saturated fats- Animal fats and coconut
  • Monounsaturated- Avocados, olive oil, macadamia nuts
  • Polyunsaturated:
  • Omega 6 (Proinflammatory if out of balance)- Seed and vegetable oils, e.g. canola, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower
  • Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory)- Dark green leafy vegetables, flax/hemp seeds, walnuts, cold water fish, grass-fed beef, omega-3 eggs


Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They are required in small quantities to ensure normal metabolism, growth and physical well-being as well as to reduce inflammation.

When it comes to micronutrients:  JERF- Just Eat a Real Rainbow of Food.

If your diet is 50-75% plant-based and includes healthy fats and adequate protein, you are likely to get the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients you need without having to rely on supplementation.

Nutrient Timing

Timing your nutrition is important to ensure that sufficient energy is available for performance, as well as for recovery and repair

 Key Points:         

  • Consume a balanced breakfast before events, e.g. Oatmeal with fruit and some eggs, sausage or turkey bacon.                                          
  • Keep glycogen levels topped off with mid morning and afternoon snacks, e.g. Apple with nut butter, raw nuts and a banana, RXbar, PB&J Sandwich
  • Pre- (2-3 hours before, e.g. Nut butter sandwich) and post- (within 30-60 minutes after, e.g. Smoothies) exercise meals to maximize performance and recovery


I recommend a “food first” approach. There are a few select supplements that can be used to help with strength gains, aerobic capacity and injury recovery. These are tailored to the individual.


  • Water is a carrier for nutrients and waste products. It aids in thermoregulation and helps to serve as a lubricant and shock absorber 
  • Numerous factors affect water requirements and needs, e.g. climate, physical activity and diet
  • The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends as a base line that women consume an average of 91 oz and men consume 125 oz.
  • As little as 2% dehydration can affect academic and sports performance. Urine color (dark vs light) is one way to monitor hydration status

Balanced Nutrition is essential to REFUEL, REPAIR, REHYDRATE, REVITALIZE

Use the Healthy Plate as a guide to balanced eating.


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