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Nutrition Helps Soldier-Athletes Go for Gold

The U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) identifies exceptional Soldier-athletes and provides them with the best possible coaching and access to state-of-the-art training venues and sports medicine as they prepare for top national and international competitions – including the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These elite athletes and their coaches know that in order to be the best in their sport, they not only have to train hard, but they must also eat right. That's why nutrition plays an important role in their world-class training regimen. WCAP athletes eat balanced meals full of healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins, stay hydrated and make sure to replenish the calories they lose during their rigorous training workouts.

"The way you get to be elite is by training hard. But the problem is that many athletes don't marry that training with rest and recovery nutrition," says Sports Dietician Maj. Trisha Stavinoha. "A lot of them go straight from practice to practice - from their sport practice to strength and conditioning training, one right after the other - so they don't have time to sit down and eat." When athletes don't replenish the calories lost during rigorous training, it can lead to what's called overtraining syndrome or burnout. To help prevent this, Stavinoha recommends grabbing a bottle of chocolate milk or meal replacement drink, which is much better than having nothing at all.

As athletes get closer to competition, nutrition restrictions tighten up further. Hydration must be closely monitored especially when these athletes put in five and half hours of training per day. To learn more about the Army's elite athletes and how they fuel up and push their bodies to the limit, visit ArmyMWR.com.

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