If you are an extremely active person or a high-performance athlete, your diet will greatly vary from that of the average person. Olympic athletes, basketball players and other sports enthusiasts follow very rigorous training schedules, but they make up for the physical exertion with specialized diets that help them maintain their energy and focus, stay fit and feel good too. Even if you are not a celebrity athlete, any time you spend 60 to 90 minutes doing high intensity activity your body will require extra fuel. Here are our top 10 nutrition tips for athletes that will help you take your nutrition to the next level.
- Stay Hydrated
Engaging in intense exercise means that your body will sweat a lot, which can quickly lead to dehydration. Make sure to consume plenty of water and look for sports drinks full of electrolytes to help you replenish and stay hydrated. If you feel thirsty, this means your body is already showing signs of dehydration.
- Eat Carbs
Carbohydrates give your body the energy that it needs to work out. This doesn’t mean that all of your meals should be accompanied by bread or pasta, there are healthy carbs in vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains.
- Pile on the Protein
Protein doesn’t necessarily provide your body with extra energy, but it does play a big role in building muscle. Stock up on high quality protein like lean meats, fish, chicken, nuts and eggs.
- Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this is especially true for very active individuals or athletes. Eating a good, healthy meal first thing in the morning will help you get energized and keep you going strong for the rest of the day.
- Boost with Berries
An easy and proven way to accelerate recovery efforts in between work outs is by helping yourself to some blueberries. This powerful little berry has been proven to reduce inflammation and increase immune responses so that you recover faster and avoid catching any sicknesses that could keep you away from the gym for extended periods of time.
- Cut out Junk
If you want to be the best and feel your best you need to give your body the best nutrition, which you won’t find in fast food. Junk food is terrible for your body at all times, but if you are trying to build yourself up then replace fried foods and other junk with whole foods.
- Eat Foods Rich in Iron
Women are very susceptible to being deficient in iron, which means it’s important to eat plenty of dark leafy greens to supplement. Other ways to get iron into your diet include red meat, oatmeal and certain fortified cereals. You can also take a supplement to further boost your levels.
- Eat to Recover
What you put in your body after a workout is just as important as what you eat before. Chocolate milk is a wonderful source of both carbs and protein, and it can help reduce muscle soreness, fatigue and speed up recovery if you drink a glass within 20 minutes of completing a workout. If you’re not a fan of chocolate milk, or you can’t/don’t drink milk, you can substitute with a piece of low-fat cheese, small sandwich with an egg and lean meat or a protein shake.
- Don’t be Afraid of Salt
We’re taught to stay away from too much salt because it increases the risk of hypertension. The dietary needs of athletes, especially those in warmer climates or who sweat a lot, require them to be mindful of their sodium and electrolyte intake. Adding a pinch of unrefined sea salt to one liter of water will help you prevent excess loss of salts from sweating, and electrolytes like magnesium and potassium can be found in green leafy vegetables and fruits.
- Rest and Digest
We live in a very fast paced world and many of us are always on the go. Instead of shoving food in your mouth, no matter how ravenous you are at the time, make each bite count and enjoy your food. It’ll be easier to digest that way and you won’t end up feeling super bloated. Take your time and make sure to also set aside rest days in between your active days so you can recuperate.
The key to a healthy lifestyle comes down to diet and exercise. If you are looking to make a lifestyle change and need some help to kickstart a new regiment, contact our team. We’d love to help you figure out the best way to incorporate weight loss supplements or a weight loss program tailored to your specific goals.