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What were you doing 31 years ago today? If you were alive and anywhere near a TV, you probably were witnessing a moment in Olympic history: Mary Lou Retton winning the gold in the all-around gymnastic category for Team USA. She was 16 years old, had just had knee surgery two months prior, and still showed up in Los Angeles to land not one, but two perfect 10s in the vault competition.

She was quoted afterwards saying “I kept thinking ‘stick, stick, stick’… I knew I had to get a 10.’”

And she did. Twice, back-to-back.

“Stick it” in gymnastics lingo means to make a perfect landing, with your feet so solid on the floor that it’s as if they are stuck, and you can’t move or wobble at all. Mary Lou knew she had to have a perfect landing to make history happen, and she succeeded at the 1984 Olympics.

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When you hear athletes talk about their achievements and what they did to succeed, you often hear tales of self-motivation and “mind over matter” pep talks. What we believe we can do plays a huge part in what we actually accomplish. Of course, training and nutrition are also critical, if not equally important factors.

Our friends over at Clif Bar put together a really great infographic that shows you exactly how to Eat Like An Athlete. This infographic was created for cyclists, but everyone working towards a big sporting event can benefit from the expert advice. The tip to remember is that it’s a rule of opposites when it comes to endurance training. When you’re “On The Bike” (working out) you need to eat foods higher in carbs, sugar and sodium, and decrease the amount of protein, fat and fiber. Alternatively, “Off The Bike” (during rest periods) up your intake of foods higher in protein, fat and fiber and limit those packed with carbs, sugar and salt.

Why is this, you ask? It’s all about making sure you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs in the moment. If you eat foods that are harder on the digestive track to process (protein, fat, fiber) while in motion, it can be really difficult to hit peak performance. Whereas carbs, salt and sugar all get absorbed by the body fairly easily and replenish energy quickly. Check it out!

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See the infographic close-up and get more nutrition tips from our friends at Clif Bar here.

And if you want to relive something absolutely amazing – watch Mary Lou’s historical moment here.

What’s your favorite meal to munch on when you’re eating like an athlete? Tell us in the comments below!

Make it Happen,
– Team FitStar

This infographic is provided by Tara Dellolacono Theis, a Clif Bar dietitian.

Clif Bar & Company is a leading maker of nutritious and organic foods and drinks, including CLIF® Bar energy bar, LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women®; and CLIF Kid®, Nourishing Kids in Motion®. Focused on sports nutrition and snacks for adventure, the family and employee-owned company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and planet. For more information on Clif Bar & Company, please visit www.clifbar.com, check out their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

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