An athlete, who does not strive to be better and move forward, loses his health in the process. What helps to set records and achieve success? It turns out that a well-formulated diet is essential. In this article, we will provide 12 nutrition tips for athletes.
Nutrition Tips for Athletes
- Eat More Carbs
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in the diet of athletes. They need to be obtained in sufficient quantities at approximately equal intervals throughout the day. It will allow the athlete to give all their best in any workout.
The ideal diet is about 70% of your total daily calories from carbohydrates. And these should be healthy carbohydrates. Those that are found in cereals, pasta made from durum wheat, fruits, berries, and vegetables.
- Count Calories
To maintain the health of the body, an average person needs an average of 1200-1800 kcal per day. But a person who is actively involved in sports needs much more.
Experts calculated that an athlete’s diet should contain at least 2200-3000 kcal per day. The exact numbers will be prompted by a professional since they depend on the age of the athlete, his body constitution, weight, and level of activity.
- Drink Plenty Of Fluids
During exercise, the body quickly loses water. At the same time, for some time he may not even feel thirsty. You need to drink liquid before and during fitness, as well as after. Contrary to popular belief, chilled drinks are preferable to room temperature water, as they additionally cool the hot body.
Moreover, drinking fluid does not imply drinking alcohol-containing liquids. Such fluids absorb the water from the body, causing dehydration. So, if you drink alcohol after exercising, you are ruining your health. Take precautions for better health and the first step towards it to learn how to quit drinking as early as possible.
- 4. Practice “Lightness”
On the day of a competition or performance demonstration, the last meal should be planned 3-4 hours before the event. The stomach will be “light” and exercise will be more productive.
If the exercise lasts longer than 90 minutes, it is necessary to replenish fluid and electrolytes promptly. Experts recommend eating a light carbohydrate snack and drinking water every 15 minutes. Sports drinks and gels make this a lot easier, but plain water and fresh fruit are also excellent choices.
- Eat Quality Protein
Protein foods are critical to the maintenance of muscle tissue in athletes. Therefore, their quality and timely intake into the body must be given the utmost attention.
On average, 1.2-1.4 grams of protein is required for each kilogram of a person’s body weight per day. But an athlete who is involved in weightlifting or practicing high-intensity training needs more – up to 1.7 g of protein for each kg of body weight.
Milk is one of the best foods for rebuilding the body after exercise, as it is a rich source of whey protein, casein, and calcium. Research shows that the human body metabolizes these substances quickly, which shortens the recovery time.
- Control Salt In Your Diet
With prolonged exercise, the body loses sodium intensively. Most sports drinks contain sufficient amounts of it. However, every athlete should be aware of the symptoms of low sodium in the diet to replenish it in time. It causes:
- Muscle cramps
Conversely, excess sodium in the diet can also be a problem, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and causing muscle weakness. Therefore, eat only moderate content of salt in your diet.
- Be Careful With Fats
During prolonged exertion and during competitions, when the carbohydrate source “dries up”, the body takes energy from the stored fat. To create it, an athlete must have enough fatty foods in their diet. Preference – healthy fats: natural vegetable oil, seeds, seeds and nuts, oily fish, olives, avocados, and dairy products.
According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, 30% of the total amount of calories entering the body should come from fat: 10% of them are saturated, no more than 2% are trans fats, and the remaining 18% are unsaturated.
- Snack Right
Always keep healthy top-up options on your hands, such as carrot sticks and hummus, oatmeal cookies and peanut butter, whole-grain bread, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and bananas. They will help you stay full longer, improve athletic performance in training, and reduce fatigue.
- Close The “Carbohydrate Window” In Time
To replenish lost glycogen after prolonged or intense exercise, you need to close the “carbohydrate window” within two hours.
Research shows that getting 100-200 grams of carbohydrates is ideal for this task. But the best option is, nevertheless, a combination of carbohydrates and proteins. The ideal ratio looks like this – 4: 1.
- Replenish Electrolytes
Sweating causes the body not only to lose water but also important minerals. But it depends on them what progress will be and how quickly the athlete can recover after training.
The easiest way to make up for the “losses” is sports drinks, the composition of which is specially designed for these purposes.
- Eat More Varied Meals
A balanced diet can provide the athlete with all vitamins and minerals. But in the cold season, it is more difficult to eat in a variety of ways. In this case, vitamin and mineral complexes recommended by a doctor will come to the rescue.
So, riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin in their composition will maintain the required energy level. Magnesium and potassium will help prevent cardiovascular disease and post-workout cramps, while calcium will support muscle and bone health.
- Sometimes Take Liberties
Life is too short to limit yourself in everything. Therefore, from time to time it is useful to arrange small vacations for yourself. But in order not to overdo it, experts advise using the 80:20 rule.
Eighty percent of the menu should be healthy food, and the remaining twenty – small excesses. It may not be healthy food, but one that brings pleasure and helps not to “break”. Enjoy your meal!
An athlete, along with the regular exercises should also look after his diet for more effective results. We are hopeful that these tips will help you maintain good health.