A few years ago, I went through a phase where I became obsessed with racing in triathlons. I completed about six races in all, including three half-Ironmans (a race that totals 70.3 miles). My major takeaway from that crazy, fun, empowering, but incredibly time-consuming experience was just how essential nutrition is for performance. In fact, at one point, I got so overwhelmed and tired of working out all the time (I started crying in Central Park in the middle of a bike ride out of sheer frustration and boredom), that I decided to ease back on exercise and just focus on nailing my nutrition for my last half-Ironman. I expected that this plan would totally blow up in my face, but instead I beat my time goal by three minutes on a very hilly course (a three-minute gain in racing world is huge). I also felt amazing the whole race — strong, clear-minded, focused, and positive. That is the power of good food and balanced nutrition.
All athletes (even prima ballerinas!) have to eat before a big race, game, or performance. But what are their eating routines? What does Misty Copeland eat before she goes out on stage to dance the Black Swan? What does Gabby Douglas eat before she has to bounce and bend all over the gymnastics floor to win gold? What do these athletes eat after a big event, to recover and prepare for the next challenge ahead? Read on to find out.