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A big part of training for a Spartan race is fueling your body for the work. You need a mix of complex carbohydrates, along with adequate protein and healthy fats, says Nancy Clark, RD, author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook and a dietitian in private practice in Boston. “Grains, fruits, and vegetables are what fuel the muscles the best,” she says.
These types of carbs digest into glucose, she explains, and the body stores it as glycogen. “When you deplete glycogen from hard training sessions, you need things like sweet potatoes, rice, breads, grains, fruits, and veggies to re-fuel,” Clark says. Those foods also pack vitamins and minerals that keep athletes healthy so you can keep pushing toward the finish line.
Protein sources, like fish, chicken, and meat will also help your muscles repair and rebuild, while healthy fats, such as nuts, provide anti-inflammatory effects, says Clark.
To get your fill on a mix of nutrients and power your Spartan training, try these five lean meals from Fresh Meal Plan.
5 Best Dinner Recipes for Training Like a Warrior
1. Lemon Thyme Chicken
- Sweet Potato
- Chicken Breast
Sweet potatoes offer up starchy, glucose-replenishing carbs along with vitamin A. Chicken provides necessary protein and fats to keep you full and strong, while asparagus rounds out the plate as your vitamin- and mineral-packed vegetable.
2. Steak with Brown Rice
- Sirloin Steak
- Brown Rice
You’ll get a high dose of vitamin C, a strong illness-fighting antioxidant, from the broccoli in this dish—the veggie provides 100% of the vitamin you need in a day in just a half-cup, says Clark. Brown rice also adds filling fiber to your plate. And of course, steak contains a high amount of protein, with nearly 25 grams in three ounces.
3. Sirloin Burger with Sweet Potato
- Sweet Potato
- Green Beans
- Ground Sirloin
Simple, but so satisfying—and fueling. This dish balances protein, carbs, and fat with each main ingredient. Plus, thanks to the mix of orange and green foods, you get a host of vitamins and antioxidants for an energy- and health-boost.
4. Shrimp Pasta
- Wheat Pasta
When you’re looking for a low-fat, low-calorie protein option, shrimp fits the bill. The dash of lemon adds some flavor, while you get vitamins A, K, and C in a scoop of spinach. The wheat pasta preps your muscles for more exercise, too.
5. Turkey Chili
- Brown Rice
- Ground Turkey
Tomato, onions, and peppers—a tasty, hydrating combo that also happens to promote well-being with vitamin C, along with other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ground turkey means you get a lean source of protein, and a side of carbs comes in the form of brown rice.