Diet plays a major role in the performance of athletes, in conjunction with training and exercising. Without the required nutrition, athletes may find that their performance drops despite the fact that they’re training harder than ever before. Nutrition affects how much energy and strength an athlete has, which is the basis of their performance.
To keep track of your nutrition intake, you might want to create a diet and record what food you eat. Other than what’s eaten, it’s also important to get enough sleep, drink lots of water and eat at the right time.
Here are six key nutritional tips for athletes:
1. Eat Carbohydrates
It’s essential for athletes to eat lots of carbohydrates because they’re their main source of energy when working out. This is because the body turns carbohydrates into glucose, which is a form of sugar, and stores it in the muscles. It’s then changed into energy when you exercise.
Some easy ways you can incorporate carbs into your diet is by increasing your intake of:
If you have a big race or competition coming up, you could even do carb loading a few days before the event. This may mean that there’ll be a lot of energy ready to go as soon as you need it. Similarly, you may want to eat carbs after exercising to restore any energy that was used.
2. Take Supplements
If you find it hard to get all the nutrients you need from your diet alone, a great solution is to take supplements, such as Optimum Nutrition products. By taking supplements, you’re able to pinpoint what vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to have more of. However, it’s important not to let this become the only way for you to consume them. They should always work with your diet.
There are specific supplements that might specifically help athletes, such as ones that may help repair muscles and enhance performance. Sometimes, these come in powders that are added to liquids or smoothies.
3. Consume Lots Of Greens
It’s a well-known fact that everyone needs to eat their greens, but it’s especially important for athletes because they contain lots of good hydration and minerals. It’s important for athletes to get as many minerals, such as iron, as possible to help strengthen their muscles and be able to perform the best they can. They also contain calcium, which can potentially strengthen bones, which means better performance. It’s easy to add greens to any meal as there’s so much variety.
Some of the most common greens are:
If you get bored of adding greens to your diet, perhaps, find some new recipes and keep them on hand. Some easy ways to add more greens to your diet without necessarily needing a recipe are:
- Add a handful of spinach into pastas
- Add rocket to your salad
- Make a broccoli salad
- Add roasted zucchini to your meal
4. Eat At The Right Time
Other than what an athlete actually eats, it’s also very important what time they eat. They could be consuming the right nutrients, but if they eat at the wrong time, their bodies may not absorb them at all.
It’s important to eat the three main meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner —but also to eat before and after exercise. However, don’t eat too close to exercising because your body needs time to digest the food. You might want to only eat something small about an hour before training and eat a few hours before a big sporting event.
5. Drink Plenty Of Water
Everyone knows that water is essential for living, and it’s even more important for an athlete to ensure that they stay hydrated. This helps their body absorb the nutrients from any food or supplements they take. A regular person should be drinking at least two liters of water per day, while athletes should be drinking at least three. This will also depend on the size of the person and how much exercise they do.
It’s also very important to rehydrate while exercising. You want to avoid drinking multiple gulps in one go. Instead, take sips throughout the duration of your training. Otherwise, you may feel bloated from all the water.
Some tips to increase water intake are:
- Carry a bottle of water around with you
- Set reminders on your phone
- Replace other drinks with water
- Drink a full bottle of water as soon as you wake up
- Buy a bigger bottle
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is another essential thing that all people need. Your body tells you when it’s already tired, from yawning to not being able to concentrate properly. Sleep is essential for helping the body digest and absorb nutrients.
On average, a person should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. A study from 2009 found that when the Stanford Womens Tennis team increased their sleep to ten hours per night, they performed better and had better moods. This suggests that athletes need more sleep than the average person. As such, it’s important to assess your sleep routine to ensure that you’re set up to get the best sleep possible.
Here are some tips to help you fall asleep quicker:
- Mediate before sleep to relax you and clear your mind
- Play white noise, like the sound of rain, in the background
- Diffuse essential oils, like lavender, in the room
- Spray magnesium oil on your chest
- Lower the temperature in the room
- Ensure it’s dark enough in the room; if not, try using an eye mask
Nutrition is essential for everyone, but especially for athletes because they use more energy. It’s important for them to eat more carbohydrates so they can store more energy in their muscles, and to eat plenty of greens to get enough minerals to enhance performance. If you’re unable to get all the nutrition you need from your diet, taking supplements might be a good idea.
Apart from what athletes actually eat, drinking plenty of water, eating at the right time, and getting enough sleep all help the body to absorb the nutrition that athletes need.