Anna Gibson: Performance Nutrition Hacks To Help You Reach Your Best

Anna Gibson: Performance Nutrition Hacks To Help You Reach Your Best

If you asked me during my NCAA cross country and track years to characterize my fueling, I would have launched into a conversation about the importance of eating a healthy, well-rounded diet. I didn’t really use sports performance products then, other than some occasional electrolytes before a race or a spoonful of protein powder in my smoothies. That strategy worked for me at the time—I maintained a healthy weight for myself, avoided bone stress injuries, and generally performed well in competition.

Looking back, it is amazing how much my nutrition strategy has evolved since the start of my professional running career. That was just eight months ago in July. I’ve leveled up my training in a big way, which has simultaneously increased my need to recovery effectively. On a quest to meet these demands, I’ve tried a ton of products, tested different combinations and timing for use, and talked to friends about their own fueling hacks.

Contrary to my college-self’s philosophy, it's clear to me now that nutrition and performance nutrition are not the same thing. Reaching your best as an athlete is easier when you optimize your meals as well as what you consume between them. Whether you’re new to training or have had your foot on the gas for years, utilizing products like energy gels, electrolytes, and recovery drink mix can help you meet your body’s demands more efficiently.

Here are a few of my favorite performance nutrition hacks at the moment: 

    • Electrolytes -- Drop one tab of any flavor of GU Hydration Drink Tabs into a cup of hot water as a substitute for a cup of tea. My favorite flavor hot is Tri-Berry. This is especially good when cozying up on the couch after a hard session.


    • Post-warmup Gel — On workout days, take a GU gel between your warmup and the start of your interval session. This replenishes carbohydrates and BCAA’s  to ensure that I get through the most important part of the session feeling my best. I’ve been doing this religiously for months and I swear I can tell the difference.


    • Orange Creamsicle Recovery Drink — Mix one orange flavored GU Hydration tab with 1-2 scoops of Vanilla Bean Roctane Protein Recovery Drink Mix. This is my favorite thing to down right after I train on hard days and easy days alike. Not only is it delicious but this combo replenishes essential salts, carbohydrates, and protein all in one fell swoop, at the time when my body is most depleted.



    These hacks are sure to be heavy in my rotation as I continue to train for the 1500 meters at the US Olympic Trials in June, as well as the sub-ultra trail season beyond. Follow along with my adventures on Strava or on Instagram @annaagibsonn.








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