10 Nutrition Tips for Athletes from Top Dieticians
Let’s face it; there’s a truck-load of nutrition tips out there, which can be a little confusing, if not daunting for high performance athletes. As pro athlete, the chances are that you put in 90+ minutes of high-intensity exercise and training every day, not to mention high-endurance game days. That’s why you need a diet that’ll help you not only perform at your peak but also recover fast afterward.
Here are 10 tried-and-true, dietician-approved tips that are poised to help you take your in-training and on-field performance to the next level.
1) Load on Carbs
With nearly two-thirds of Americans struggling with obesity and weight issues, it’s no wonder carbs have received a bad rap. That in and of itself isn’t too surprising considering that an average American lives a sedentary lifestyle. But, carbs are an Athlete’s biggest source of fuel.
Once carbs get into your body, they are quickly broken down into glucose, and then stored in your muscles in the form of glycogen. This is especially what you need aplenty for high-intensity practices and game-days. To achieve optimal glycogen storage, be sure to eat a high-carb diet that includes cereals, bread, pasta, and much more. Even so, avoid starchy or sugary foods 30 minutes before an activity because they tend to cause heightened dehydration.
2) Eat Enough Protein
While protein isn’t a great source of fuel, you need it to keep your muscle mass and strength. Ideally, a high-performance athlete requires 1.7 grams of protein per kg of their weight. You don’t want to get too much protein because the last thing you want is to strain your kidneys. As such, you need to load up on high-quality sources of protein like poultry, fish, lean meats, beans, nuts, milk or eggs.
3) Don’t Forget Your Greens
As pro athletes, we tend to focus our diets almost entirely on protein and carbs, putting veggies on the back burner. That’s a big no-no. Remember you also need plenty of vitamins and minerals to heal your muscles and keep them revving at peak performance. The trick is to layer at least two vegetables at every major meal.
4) Mind Your Berries
Your muscles and tissue can take a beating from all the weight-lifting, sprints, high-intensity training, and whatnot. Wondering how to get rid of soreness after practice? Crush some strawberry, blueberries or cranberries and consume around your workout schedule. In fact, recent studies have shown that berries are quite effective against inflammation.
5) Plan Your Meals around Protein
You already know how consuming enough protein is crucial to get your muscles ready to kick butt in the gym and on the field. That’s why it makes sense to use protein as the anchor for all your meals. After all, protein is the bedrock of an athlete’s diet.
6) Get Enough Sleep
We cannot overstate the importance of getting high-quality sleep as a high-performance athlete. It’s probably as important as your training and diet, if not more. And it’s crucial if you want to get the most out of your diet. When you’re sleep-deprived, your appetite and stress hormones go haywire, which can adversely impact on your form and performance. Sleep can also come in handy when it comes to speedy recovery.
7) Hydrate Frequently
It’s a no-brainer to drink plenty of water as an athlete, especially if you’re exercising in hot weather. More importantly, you need to drink chilled fluids which are readily absorbed by your body. The bottom line is that you need to properly hydrate long before training and competitions because dehydration can take a toll on your performance.
8) Supplement, Supplement, Supplement
High-quality supps like Betancourt sports nutrition are all the rage among discerning athlete. And for good reason: they deliver incredible results. Creatine-rich supplements, for instance, have been hailed as one of the most effective and safest ways to boost performance and speed up recovery.
9) Don’t Buy Into Low-Carb High-Fat Diets
There’s a lot of buzz around high-fat, low-carb diets. That’s no good news for a high-performance athlete. A diet that’s low in carbohydrates can leave you not only uninspired but also struggling to keep peak performance. What’s more, too much fat can upset your stomach.
10) Replenish Lost Electrolytes
Have a sports drink and Betancourt sports nutrition supplement handy to rejuvenate your body before and after your workout, sprint or swim.