It is common knowledge that an athlete has to go through rigorous training sessions, spend hours at the gym and keep practicing his sport for a long time to get to the top of his game. If you are an athlete, be it in your school, college or at a professional level, your body demands special nutritional care to cope with the heavy-duty workout routine that you have to endure. Selecting the best meal plan for you might seem like a tough task but today, we have come up with 8 nutrition tips for athletes that will make your planning smooth and easy.
So, let’s jump right into it!
Why do we need these special nutrition tips for athletes?
One of the basic things for an athlete is knowledge of how to keep your body running on proper fuel so that it has the energy to go through the tough fitness regimen that athletes have to follow. It has been observed that many talented athletes fail to deliver their best performances at their tournaments because they feel dizzy, out of breath and too tired. All these are a result of not realizing how important the role of nutrition in sports is.
But you don’t need to fret too much as we have compiled some top nutrition tips for athletes to help you plan the best sports diet that suits your body.
1. Hydration is important: Start every day with two cups of water
First one of the nutrition tips for athletes that you need to know about is that fluids are just as important for you as your solid foods are. Fluid consumption is crucial to ensure proper performance and the avoidance of problems such as heat related illness. Do you know that even a one or two percent dehydration in your body can have a negative impact on your performance?
Our tip: start every day with two cups of water and make sure to have 150-300 mL of water every 15-20 minutes. But also remember, too much of nothing is good. Experts have agreed that you should not exceed the limit of 400-800 mL of water per hour.
2. Always have some extra food with you for your cravings
One of the most important nutrition tips for athletes is that you need to give your body enough food so that it can keep up with the high energy demand. That being said, you should always have some food with you in case your body needs it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have the liberty to have burgers and hotdogs at every odd hour of the day but you can keep some snack bars, or any other dry food with you at all times.
3. Fill half of your plate with veggies and fruits
You cannot claim to have the best sports diet if you do not include loads of vegetables and fruits in your meal plan. A good athlete should know that besides having lots of carbs and protein on your diet, you should also keep in mind that your plates should have veggies and fruits too! Vegetables provide micronutrients and hydration that are essential to ensure your body works properly and fruits are absolutely indispensable because they give you all kinds of vitamins and antioxidants as well.
4. Include some proteins in every meal
Proteins are a huge part of the best sports diet that we are talking about in here. As an athlete, you need to know the importance of proteins in building and repairing your muscles for all the strenuous exercises that you have to perform. Have you ever felt like your legs are going to give way after an hour or two at the gym? The most probable reason for this is that your body is lacking the amount of protein that it should usually have to muscle mass.
Now, many people would tell you to use protein supplements but always keep in mind: we should prefer natural means of protein to artificial ones. So, an important point in our list: load up your plates with meat, pulses, eggs and you’re good to go!
5. You need double as much fiber as a normal person
Here comes another super important point amongst all the sports nutrition tips for athletes: you should never ignore—fibers and roughage are two food components that everyone needs but being an athlete, your body should have double the intake of these two than any normal person. Dietary fiber is found in most food grains like oats, whole grains etc. and legumes and fruits. It has been proven that fibers can help you maintain ideal body weight and lower the risks of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
6. Preferably eat six small meals every day
Yes, we know we are asking a lot here but this is one of the most important nutrition tips for athletes. For a high-performance athlete, your body is like a temple and you need to make small offerings of food every once in a while so that you never feel tired and exhausted. You don’t need to have a ‘feast fit for a king’ during your mealtime but remember to have small portions of food many times a day.
7. Avoid too much caffeine
While fluid intake should be on the top of your list of priorities, never forget that too much caffeine can seriously harm your health. It is pretty normal for you to want to get a caffeine shot so that you can stay alert during your training sessions but that is not good for your physical performance.
Another fact that we need to remember while making the best sports diet plan is that too much of caffeine messes up your sleep cycle and one thing that every athlete should have is proper sleep to enable your body to endure the strenuous workout that athletes have to undergo.
8. Give your body as many carbohydrates as it needs
Carbohydrates are the main energy-building components in your diet and you should never compromise when it comes to carbs. Carbohydrates can improve your performance by a lot by delaying fatigue and enabling you to exercise for a much longer time. If people recommend you to go for “low-carb diets”, just avoid them.
An important sports nutrition tips for athletes: you should have enough carbohydrate for optimal performance and this will help replenish muscle glycogen and prevent you from feeling sluggish.
Thus, we come to the end of your list of nutrition tips for athletes. Besides these points, remember to have a proper post-workout meal after you come home from the gym. Quinoa is a good inclusion for your post-workout meal. And since you will have to endure high-performance sports, sweating is unavoidable and you can lose a lot of electrolytes there. So, keep an eye on your electrolytes intake too.
We hope this article helped you realize the important role of nutrition in sports and now you can make the best sports diet suited to your body easily! If you liked these tips, share this article with your friends and spread the good word. Thanks for reading and have a good day!