Proper fueling is all about getting the right nutrients at the right time to maximize your training results. If you want to be prepared for your next mission, nutrient planning before, during, and after your workouts will help you perform at your best. Did you know that fueling before you exercise improves overall performance by 25% to 50%? The opposite is true if you get dehydrated. Your performance can decrease by almost 30%. Don’t start your workout on an empty tank. Eat a small snack 2 to 4 hours before you exercise and drink 2 to 3 cups of water about 2 to 3 hours prior to your exercise. Finish the workout as well as you started. Most people only need water during exercise that lasts less than an hour. If you plan to work out longer than an hour, consider a sports drink. But remember, an energy drink is not the same thing. After your workout, recover and re-energize. Refuel and rehydrate within 30 to 60 minutes. Eat a mix of carbohydrates and proteins. By fueling after your workout, you can increase your muscles’ energy stores and improve your recovery time by 50%. Eating fruits and vegetables can help with fluid replacement, too. Dietary supplements come in many forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, energy bars, and liquids. They usually contain dietary ingredients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and botanicals. While there are certain dietary supplements that may be beneficial for physical performance and health, understand that dietary supplements are not regulated, and approximately 70% of U.S. supplement companies fail to meet FDA manufacturing standards. This means that quality, safety, and effectiveness are not guaranteed, and a majority of dietary-supplement claims are not supported by research and are not proven to be effective. You can make smart choices by knowing how to choose supplements safely. If you decide to take a dietary supplement, use Operation Supplement Safety on the Web. This will help you avoid risks to your health and keep money in your wallet. It is always better to choose food over supplements. Fuel with water, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and green tea instead of weight-loss pills and energy boosters. Replace bodybuilding supplements with chicken, fatty fish like salmon and other seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. Don’t risk your health or waste your money on supplements. Your body is like a high-performance vehicle, and there are no magic bullets. The best ingredients for optimal performance include a proper nutrition performance plan, regular exercise, and quality sleep. PIGFORD: Small changes can make a big difference. Use one of these targets to achieve your SMART goal this week. For more information on this module and to download the Soldier Challenge book, go to performancetriad.mil. Your readiness and the readiness of your unit depends on you. Train as you fight, and prepare yourself to have conversations about this module through group discussions and practical exercises. Conduct regular AARs to assess your Soldiers’ progress in attaining their SMART goal.