Did you know that weight loss is actually more attributed to what and how you eat as opposed to how much time you spend in the gym? As an athlete, exercising your butt off will keep your body in peak physical condition. However, to be the best you can be you need to give your body the right fuels. Proper nutrition assists with reducing injury risks and aiding post-exercise recovery. We’re taking a closer look at how nutrition affects athletic performance by hearing from some seasoned personal trainers and dietitians.
Athletes and Nutrition
Your body relies entirely on your decision-making for its survival. Your cells convert foods into glucose, which in turn transforms into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is absorbed by our cells. When we put high-quality, healthy foods into our bodies, our cells are fed with healthy molecules. If we eat unhealthy foods, or starve our bodies of food for long periods of time, our cells cannot do their jobs properly and our athletic performance suffers as a consequence.
There are certain superfoods that you can eat which will help your body function at its best. These are, for example, chia seeds, maca powder, goji berries, acai berries and cacao powder. Read our article – entitled 5 Superfoods You’ll Want To Add To Your Shopping List – to find out what the benefits of eating these superfoods are.
4 Reasons supplements that will help you
- Bone Health: Essential nutritional supplements for rock-solid bone health are calcium (which is most commonly found in dairy products) and vitamin D. Remember that for vitamin D to work properly, there needs to be a good amount of calcium in your body.
- Muscular Health: Protein and iron (both absorbed from meat) are essential for the overall health of the muscular system. Many athletes use protein powders after their workouts to assist with building muscle.
- Immune Health: Athletes can’t compete when under the weather. Prevent illness and bolster immunity with antioxidants (found in rooibos tea and many other healthy foods). The properties of vitamin C are well known for helping you stave off the common cold.
- Overall Health: Multivitamins are important supplements to ensure that the body is receiving correct doses of all the essential vitamins and minerals.
Nutrition and Athletic Performance: Professionals Weigh In
Below are thoughts regarding nutrition’s affect on athletic performance, from professionals in the health and fitness industry:
- “Carbohydrates fuel high-intensity [training] and limiting carbohydrates can negatively impact performance.” – Molly Morgan, Dietician
- “Without a good nutrition program, every aspect of your physical and mental abilities will decline. Everything from your level of hydration to the timing of your carbohydrate intake will drastically affect performance.” – Mike Allard, NASM Trainer
- “Poor nutrition can lead to injury, fatigue and poor recovery, all three of which can hinder how well an athlete performs.” – Heather R. Mangieri, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- “For optimal energy for your work outs, eat immediately after each work out. This way you will be fueled up for your work out the next day and be able to efficiently utilize your time. On performance days eat a good meal 2-3 hours before competition and keep high carb snacks on hand for in between sessions …” – Jara Soost, NASM Trainer
- “If you have a poor diet, expect poor performance as a result. When thinking about sports performance you should place nutrition as high as strength, conditioning and practice they all play and equal part in how well you will perform.” – Yusuf Boyd, NASM Trainer
If you want to optimise athletic performance – for yourself or the athletes that you assist – make sure that they eat the correct foods so that they have the optimal power to succeed in their chosen sport.