Nutrition can improve athletic performance. An active lifestyle and training routine, along with good food, is the best way to stay healthy.
Eating a good diet can help deliver the energy you need to complete a race, or simply enjoy a relaxed sport or activity. You are more likely to be tired and perform poorly during exercise if you do not get enough:
Iron, vitamins and other minerals
The ideal diet for an athlete is not very different from the diet recommended for a healthy person.
However, the quantity of each food group you need depends on:
The type of sport
The amount of training you do
The amount of time you spend on doing the activity or exercise
People tend to overestimate the amount of calories they burn per workout, so it’s important to avoid getting more energy than you spend on physical activity.
To help perform better, avoid training on an empty stomach. Everyone is different, so you have to learn:
How long before you start training is best for you to eat
How much food is the right amount for you
Carbohydrates are needed to give energy during exercise. Carbohydrates are mainly stored in the muscles and liver.
Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as pasta, bagels, whole wheat bread and rice. They supply energy, fibers, vitamins and minerals. These foods contain little fat.
Simple sugars, such as soft drinks, jams and jellies, and sweets contain a lot of calories, but they do not contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
The most important thing is the total amount of carbohydrates that you eat every day. Just over half of your calories should come from carbohydrates.
You have to eat carbohydrates before you exercise if you train for more than an hour. You may have a glass of fruit juice, a cup (245 grams) of yogurt or an English muffin with jelly. Limit the amount of fat you consume in the hour prior to an athletic event.
You also need carbohydrates during exercise if you will do more than an hour of intense aerobic exercise. You can meet this need by:
Five to ten ounces (150 to 300 milliliters) of a sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes
Two to three hands pretzels
A half to two third cup (40 to 55 grams) of skimmed muesli
After exercising, you should eat carbohydrates to rebuild the energy reserves in your muscles if you are training hard.
People who train or train for more than 90 minutes should eat or drink more carbohydrates, possibly with protein, 2 hours later. Try a sports bar, trail mix with nuts or yogurt and muesli
For training of less than 60 minutes, water is usually all that is needed.
Protein is important for muscle growth and for restoring body tissues. Protein can also be used by the body for energy, but only after the carbohydrate reserves have been used up.
But it is also a myth that a protein-rich diet will promote muscle growth.
Only strength training and training will change the muscles.
Athletes, even bodybuilders, only need a little extra protein to support muscle growth. Athletes can easily meet this increased need by eating more total calories (eating more food).
Most Americans eat almost twice as much protein as they need for muscle development. Too much protein in the diet:
Is stored as increased body fat
Can increase the chance of dehydration (not enough fluid in the body)
May cause calcium loss
Can burden the kidneys extra
Often people who focus on eating extra proteins may not get enough carbohydrates, which is the main source of energy during exercise.
Amino acid supplements and eating lots of protein are not recommended.
WATER AND OTHER LIQUIDS
Water is the most important, but overlooked, nutrient for athletes. Water and liquids are essential to keep the body hydrated and at the right temperature. Your body can lose several liters of sweat in an hour of intense exercise.
Clear urine is a good sign that you have completely re hydrated. Some ideas for keeping enough fluid in the body are:
Make sure you drink enough with every meal, regardless of whether you exercise.
Drink about 16 ounces (2 cups) or 480 milliliters of water 2 hours before a workout. It is important to start exercising with sufficient water in your body.
Keep drinking water during and after exercise, about 1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 240 milliliters) of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. Water is best for the first hour. If you switch to an energy drink after the first hour, you can get enough electrolytes.
Drink even if you are not thirsty anymore.
Pour water over your head can feel good, but it will not get moisture in your body.
Offer children water during sports activities. They do not respond to both thirst and adults.
Teenagers and adults must replace any lost body weight during exercise by an equal amount of fluid. For every pound (450 grams) you lose while exercising, you must drink 16 to 24 ounces (480 to 720 milliliters) or 3 cups (720 milliliters) of fluid within the next 6 hours.
REACHING DESIRED WEIGHTS FOR COMPETITIVE PURPOSES:
Changing your body weight to improve performance must be done safely, or it can do more harm than good. Keeping your body weight too low, losing weight too quickly or preventing weight gain in an unnatural way can have negative health consequences. It is important to set realistic targets for body weight.
Young athletes who try to lose weight have to work with a registered dietitian. Experimenting with diets alone can lead to poor eating habits with inadequate or excessive intake of certain nutrients.
Talk to a health care professional to discuss a diet suitable for your sport, age, gender and amount of training.