There are many diets out there – high protein, low carb; low fat; no sugar… The list is endless! But what is the best diet for an athlete, you may be wondering. In this article, we provide the answers!
Diet tips for athletes
Load up on Carbs
Carbohydrates are the source of your body’s energy. It is changed to glucose, a form of sugar, and stored in your muscles as glycogen.
When you exercise, your body changes the glycogen into energy. This is why carbohydrates form an integral part of the diet for an athlete.
It is important to take in the appropriate amount of carbohydrates for the intensity and longevity of your exercise.
Experts recommend having a diet that gets about 70% of its calories from carbohydrates, including breads, cereals, pasta, fruit and vegetables.
Carbo-loading can also help top up your glycogen stores before a big event. This is when you eat a high-carbohydrate diet at the same time that you scale back your activity level in the days before an event.
The right amount of Protein
Protein doesn’t provide a lot of energy. But it does help to maintain your muscles. When you exercise, your muscles undergo microscopic tears. Protein helps to rebuild muscles. In addition, when you exercise, you put a lot of strain on your muscles. In order to prevent the muscles from getting injured, it is necessary to include the right amount of protein in a diet for an athlete.
According to experts, the average person needs 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. An athlete who is involved in resistance training may need up to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Taking in too much protein can put strain on your kidneys. This is why it is best to eat high-quality protein instead of taking protein supplements. Try lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs, or milk.
Milk is one of the best foods for recovery after an event. It provides a good balance of protein and carbohydrates and has both casein and whey protein.
Research shows that whey protein is absorbed quickly which can help speed up recovery. Casein is digested more slowly, ensuring long-term recovery.
Milk also has calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones. This means that it’s a great addition in a diet for an athlete.
Hydrate, rehydrate and hydrate some more
Every chemical reaction in your body needs water as a medium, only then can your enzymes and hormones develop their full potential.
If you don’t drink enough water, your brain could shrink critically. Your concentration and ability to think could become severely impaired.
Your central nervous system can’t work effectively, muscular reaction and coordination decreases significantly, strength and endurance drops and you may even experience cramps.
In conclusion, stay hydrated. In fact, never be without a bottle of water.
Not only is sweat a reason for dehydration, but it also removes electrolytes from your body.
Electrolytes help transmit nerve signals in your body.
To replenish them, reach for sports drinks. It’s an easy and quick method for the diet for an athlete to be supplemented.
You can also dilute the sports drink with equal amounts of water to get the balance of fluid and electrolytes that you lost.
It is very important for athletes to maintain the right diet. Without the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and water your next exercise session could result in injury. Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Sports Nutrition Diploma provides a good grounding in what athletes should be eating. For more information, follow this link.