You’ve been training hard. You’re focused and determined. You practice with your coaches and team and you keep up with your personal training program as well. Are you ready to take your fencing career to the next level? It may be time to tighten up your nutrition plan.

Drink Your Water

Water is one of the best performance enhancers on the planet and it is also one of the easiest to incorporate into your daily routine. You need water to digest your food, carry nutrients throughout your body, eliminate waste, and to sweat properly. When you exercise, your muscles create heat that absorbs water and your body uses additional water to sweat. You will actually notice that you weigh less after a hard workout than before you started if you workout without hydrating. This can have a negative effect on you not only physically, but mentally as well. Make sure you are hydrating before, during, and after your workouts.

Just about any fluid counts when it comes to water intake, though you should still work to avoid unhealthy choices like sodas and other high-calorie, high-sugar beverages. Foods that are high in water content count towards your fluid intake as well. Oatmeal, for example, is more than 80% water when cooked. Coffee is technically more than 98% water. A well-hydrated athlete should regularly have urine that is a pale yellow color (never clear).

Eat Enough Protein

Adequate amounts of protein are essential to serious athletes. While you may need to talk to your coach or nutritionist about how much you need for your body type, but your needs can range from 60-180 grams per day or more. Novice athletes will need less than athletes who are following a more professional training plan or who are lifting heavy weights. And yes, while you can be a plant-based athlete, many misjudge the amount of protein they are getting from foods like veggie burgers, tofu, and hummus. Calculate what you really get from your meals and snacks and make the appropriate adjustments so that your intake is supporting your higher level of activity.

Don’t let yourself get caught up spending a ton of money on protein bars, fancy shakes, sports supplements, or any of the other million money-wasters on the market today. Simple changes like better hydration and increased protein can make a huge difference in the way you are able to train and perform. Make one change at a time and then talk to your coach about what comes next. You’ll be pleased with your results.