Adam Jones and Nick Markakis shared their favorite fitness foods. Nutritionist Sue James analyzes their choices:
Snacks: Jones is a fan of fresh fruit, his favorites being "watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, blackberries and raspberries. I always try to get a lot of fruit and water around me." James approves. "Those melons have water in them, which helps with hydration. And fruits have beta carotene and Vitamin C, which protect cells from free radicals, and they balance out the proteins and the carbohydrates," she said. Jones' other go-to snack is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. "It will help sustain him through nine innings. It has a little bit of protein, some B Vitamins and carbohydrates," James said. "The jelly is a simple carbohydrate that gives him energy."
Recovery: Nick Markakis turns to recovery drinks to replenish his system after a workout. "When I first started drinking them, they were pretty distasteful," Markakis said. "Now they are pretty good." James explained how recovery drinks work: "They contain some protein to help strengthen the muscle fiber and help repair and recover it after a workout. They also have a little bit of carbohydrate to replenish the glycogen stores in the muscles." While Gatorade Nutrition Shake and EAS Myoplex are good recovery drinks, James said, an 8-ounce to 16-ounce serving of low-fat chocolate milk also works. "Low-fat chocolate milk is an easy one for everyday athletes, and it tastes so much better," James said. Time also matters: "There is a 45-minute window after exercise when recovery drinks have the most benefits," she said "That is when the muscles are primed for recovery, when the glycogen has been depleted.""
Guilty pleasures: They might be fitness buffs, but Jones and Markakis occasionally treat themselves to some ice cream. "I like chocolate fudge brownie, " Markakis said. "Rocky Road, after the night games," said Jones. The bodies of professional athletes process food differently than those of the fans in the stands, James said. "Their muscle density burns more calories than you or me." So the average O's fan might be better off with frozen yogurt.