October 6, 2021

Athletes Think Rice for Athletic Advantage

A athlete stretching. For decades, U.S.-grown rice has been an indispensable component of athletes’ diets and recommended by sports doctors and sports nutritionists across a myriad of sports. Rice is compatible with almost any meal or specific diet as a half-cup serving it is nearly fat-free, sodium-free, low allergenic, naturally gluten-free, and easily digested. Whether competing or training, the benefits of rice consumption are far ranging. From boosting overall performance and keeping athletes’ injury-free, to recovery and meal planning, U.S.-grown rice is the perfect option for athletes.

Competitive athletes require carbohydrate-rich foods like U.S.-grown rice, pre-workout, during, and post-workout to help fight off the fatigue that comes with low muscle glycogen. By incorporating rice into pre- and post-workout meals, athletes are provided with long-lasting energy and an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals to replenish severely depleted glycogen (muscle energy) stores and maximize personal performance. Additionally, adding rice into pre- and post-workout snacks and meals will ensure that athletes are optimizing their body’s ability to recover and rebuild.

Rice Boosts Performance
To enhance physical performance, high-quality, nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources, like U.S.-grown rice, are critical. Rice consumption allows athletes to boost their performance and stay fueled throughout their training because it’s a nutrient-dense, complex carbohydrate that the body slowly digests, allowing athletes to remain energized. Nutrient-rich rice delivers more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals including, folic acid, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, selenium, fiber, iron, and zinc. 

When to eat and what to eat post-workout depends on the length and intensity of the exercise session and whether muscle glycogen depletion occurred. Rice, as part of a carbohydrate-rich post workout meal, helps ensure that muscles are re-stocked with glycogen. As training volume and intensities increase, more energy is required and the need for more carbohydrate-rich foods like U.S.-grown rice, also increases.

Rice Helps Recovery & Stay Injury-free
Muscles with low muscle glycogen stores become fatigued, they lose strength and consequently the ability to protect the joints from injury. By keeping blood sugar and muscle glycogen stores high there is a decreased risk of injury for athletes. This means eating carbohydrate-rich foods pre-workout, during and post-workout can combat fatigue associated with low muscle glycogen and can lower risk of injury. 

After strenuous workouts, muscles need to take in carbohydrates to help replenish the glycogen (energy stores) lost during exercise. The same carbohydrates also help to start muscle protein synthesis so that athletes can repair and tackle the next workout with ease.

U.S.-grown rice provides a great source of easily digestible carbs, packed with nutrients to support the various nutritional demands for athletes. By incorporating domestic rice along with protein-rich foods, athletes can ensure their muscles are able to properly repair and then recover from each training session or workout.

Athlete Adding Rice to a BowlMeal Prep
Meal preparation and planning is a vital part of any training regimen as it helps to ensure that healthy meals and foods are available when needed. By planning meals, athletes can guarantee their consumption of beneficial foods and be efficient with their time. U.S.-grown rice plays a very helpful role in meal prep as it is easy to store and cook with no peeling or chopping required. It also stores well, can be frozen, and is budget friendly.  

Whether casually working out or training for a specific event, athletes who have 1-2 rest days in between intense training sessions must remember to eat sufficient carbohydrate-rich foods like U.S.-grown rice during the 24-hour period prior to their next training session to be sufficiently refueled. 

After workouts, muscles need carbohydrates to replenish the energy lost during exercise and help to kick-start muscle recovery. To meet that need, athletes should be prepared to consume quick digesting carbs along with fluids, preferably within the first hour after exercise, but within 1-2 hours of finishing a workout. U.S.-grown rice serves as a great, easy to digest option that provides needed carbs as well essential minerals such as magnesium and potassium. 

Meal Prep & Post Workout Recipes