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Eat to compete: Top military athletes fuel their performance with precise nutrition

Jan. 3, 2012 - 03:42PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 3, 2012 - 03:42PM  |  
(James J. Lee / Staff)
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Everyone knows food fuels the engine of your body. But what kind of motor are you fueling, exactly?

That largely depends on what kind of athlete you are, experts say. Just like at your local gas pump, different motors require different blends.

"Nutrition is broken into three macronutrients — carbohydrates, protein and fat," says Maj. (Dr.) James Bales, an Air Force surgeon and a contender for the U.S. Olympic triathlon team.

Carbs are king for those who focus on aerobic training — the long-distance running, Bales says. Anaerobic athletes — sprinters and bodybuilders, for example — need more proteins, particularly after their workouts.

We surveyed a group of elite military athletes to find out how they fuel their own engines. From Olympic and Paralympics hopefuls to sailing and bodybuilding champions, here's what they had to say.

Air Force Maj. (Dr.) James Bales — Triathlete

Retired Army Spc. Scott Winkler — Shot putter

Marine 1st Lt. Kaitlin Koplin — Distance runner

Coast Guard Lt. Nicole Auth — Team sailor

Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher — Modern pentathlete

Retired Marine Master Sgt. Philip Ricardo Jr. — Natural bodybuilder

Answers by RallyPoint

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