A relative constant among athletes — whether it be professionals or weekend warriors — is the recognition that food is fuel. Allie Long, a midfielder for the U.S. women’s national soccer team, lives and trains by that rule, as well. “The nutrition aspect is such an important aspect [of my training],” she says. In order to keep her tank full, Long has a variety of techniques in her proverbial tool kit that she uses to eat well and remain hydrated. And Long’s most beloved post-practice snack is the ZonePerfect cookie dough bar.
Below, the soccer star shared with us her preworkout and postworkout nutrition essentials, her secret to proactively addressing thirst, and how she uses ZonePerfect to maximize her performance on and off the field.
On finding the right nutrition plan for her:
“I used to say to my trainer, Casey Cordial, ‘I feel unfit. I feel like I need more.’ To which he said, ‘I think you actually just need to fix what you’re eating and the timing of your eating.’ Ultimately, that led to me listening to my body. Now when I wake up, I’ll have oatmeal with peanut butter if I’m craving carbs, but otherwise, I’ll just do eggs and avocado — nothing too heavy, though, since I train right after that.”
On the postworkout fuel that keeps her going:
“I think eating something directly after practice is really important. And because I often bounce around from training to the gym where I don’t really have time to or want to eat too much, I swear by a ZonePerfect bar. They make it so easy to fuel up and replenish my system for the next activity on tap. I’ve loved them since high school!”
On her OG — and more recent — favorite flavor:
“I’ve sworn by the ZonePerfect fudge graham bars since high school and love the cookie dough bars, as well. But as my dietary needs have evolved, so have the options from ZonePerfect. Their Macros bars are high in protein, vitamins and minerals and have 1 to 2 grams of sugar — more of the good stuff you need and less of the bad stuff you don’t.”
On hydrating effectively:
“While I’m playing, I strictly stick to water or I’ll have something with a little bit of electrolytes. I’m usually drinking water, and I keep a bottle on me at all times. In the morning, I’ll chug just to get as much water in me as I can after not drinking during sleep. But throughout the day, I like to sip. I don’t like feeling overly full or like there’s too much water in my stomach. I learned when I was younger that if I’m chugging water and I’m already so thirsty, then it’s probably too late.”
Although Long came just short of playing in this summer’s Olympic Games, the ZonePerfect athlete continues to treat every one of her practices — in season or during the offseason — with precision, focus and unstoppable drive. “Every single time I step on the field, I’m working on my weaknesses,” she says. “I always have a purpose behind my training.”