Alanna Bray-Lougheed, Canadian National Team sprint kayaker, studying dietetics at Mount Saint Vincent University


As an athlete, you are putting your body through stress every single day in various forms through your training. Your body needs time to recover, refuel, and rebuild broken down muscles and depleted energy stores. Just like your coach makes time in your program for you to rest, you must make time to give your body the nutrition it needs!

As a high performance athlete who is studying nutrition full-time, I know the importance of fueling right after practice. Sometimes I have to rush from a paddle, swim, run, or weights session right to school and if I don’t eat a quick recovery snack, I know I will lose my chance for optimal recovery. Eating good quality foods that are good sources of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are essential for me to train and compete at my best. Quality nutrition really can take you from a good athlete to a great athlete!

Here are a few facts, tips, and recipes that hopefully you can incorporate into your daily training.

  • Eating your regular 3 meals a day, and adding in 2-3 snacks is a great way to make sure you are getting enough calories to train at your best and to build muscle.
  • Meals and snacks should contain carbohydrates, protein, and fat to maintain energy stores and to rebuild muscles
  • Carbohydrates are the best fuel to replenish energy stores, and protein is the best fuel to build muscle
  • Athletes should aim to consume 5-10g/kg/day of carbohydrate, and 1.2-2.0g/kg/day of protein spread over the whole day (1)
  • Athletes should aim for 1.0-1.5g/kg of carbohydrate and 0.15-0.35g/kg of protein within the first 2 hours post-training. Best period of time for recovery snack is within the first 30 minutes after a workout (1). Refueling in this window will allow for an easier and faster time recovering before your next session
  • If you’re training session is longer than 2 hours, a simple carbohydrate source is recommended to maintain energy stores (e.g. Gatorade, apple sauce, pretzels)
  • Recovery snacks will vary depending on what type of exercise you are doing:
    • Aerobic exercise: 1.4-1.5g/kg of carbohydrate and 10-15g protein
    • Moderate weight training: 1.2-1.3 g/kg of carbohydrate and 15-20g protein
    • Heavy weight training: 1.0-1.2g/kg of carbohydrate and 20-25g protein (3)
  • You will notice that as the exercise become more aerobic, carbohydrates should be the focus; for a heavy strength session, protein should be the focus.
Sources of carbohydrate rich foods:
  • Whole grain bread, bagels, tortillas, pasta, rice
  • Beans and legumes
  • Whole fruit
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Milk
  • Smoothies
Sources of lean protein:
  • Lean cuts of meat
  • Skim or 1% dairy products (milk, yogurt)
  • Partially-skimmed cheese
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Eggs
  • Soy products
  • Beans and legumes
Recovery meal ideas 

Aerobic training:

  • Piece of fruit/unsweetened fruit juice, granola bar, glass of milk (3)
  • Piece of whole-grain toast with jam, 1 banana, greek yogurt
  • 1 cup high-fiber cereal, 1 cup milk, piece of fruit
  • 3/4 cup brown rice, ½ cup chickpeas, slice of partially skimmed cheese

Moderate weight training:

  • Greek yogurt, whole-grain toast with jam
  • Oatmeal with milk and dried fruit and nuts, hard-boiled egg
  • Whole-grain tortilla with tuna salad, glass of milk
  • Stir-fry with lean meat, vegetables and rice

Heavy weight training:

  • 1 cup high-protein cereal, 1 cup milk (3)
  • Greek yogurt, muesli/granola, hard-boiled egg
  • Whole grain bagel with peanut butter, hard-boiled egg
  • Nut and dried fruit trail mix, greek yogurt, and glass of milk
  • Whole-grain bread with hummus, partially skimmed cheese, and sliced turkey (2)
What about Fat??

Fat is an essential part of our body’s metabolism and is important for training and recovery. Fat should not exceed 35% of daily calorie needs, and most fat sources should be monounsaturated (olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados). Good fat sources include: nuts and seeds, olive oil, fatty-fish, avocados, natural peanut butter.


1. Dietitians of Canada Sport Nutrition Position Paper. 2016. Dietitians of Canada. [December 12, 2016]. Obtained from:

2. Refueling to recover after exercise. 2016. Dietitians of Canada. [December 12, 2016]. Obtained from:

3. Powerfuel Food: Planning meals for maximum performance. A. Dufour. 2013.


Alanna Bray-Lougheed is a 23 year old sprint kayaker on the Canadian National Team. Orginally from Oakville, she started paddling at Burloak Canoe Club summer camps before turning to racing. In the fall of 2013, Bray-Lougheed moved to Nova Scotia to pursue her passions of nutrition and paddling. After enrolling at Mount Saint Vincent University to study dietetics, she began training with other national team members at Cheema Aquatic Club. She has benefitted from living in Nova Scotia while remaining loyal to her home club and coach.

Her first international experience was in 2012 when she raced at the Pan Am Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since then, Bray-Lougheed has competed in the 2013 Pan Ams, and 2015 and 2016 U23 World Championships. At the 2015 U23 Worlds, she came fifth in the K4 event. She is now focusing on completing her degree and transitioning out of U23 into Senior, and making the 2017 World Cup and World Championship team.