Good nutrition is important, especially among professional athletes. Any type of sports put immense stress on the body. The demands of any physical activity cannot be met without ramping up your diet. In a day, an average person has to consume 2,000 to 5,000 calories, depending on the gender and level of activities. An athlete requires more calories per day to achieve optimal health and performance. Simply put, the nutrition needs of an athlete are difference from an average person. In today’s post, we are outlining the impact of nutrition in sports:
Ever wonder why you feel exhausted, fatigued, and irritable when you’re hungry? When the body is not getting the nutrients it needs to keep up with your physical demands, energy level goes down. The same thing goes for athletes who are not sticking to a healthy diet.
The body of an athlete needs sufficient carbohydrates to prevent muscle fatigue and stabilize blood sugar and glycogen levels in the muscles. Beneficial fats are converted into fuel, energizing the body and improving endurance. Protein is needed to build new muscle tissues and boost energy. Depriving your body of balanced meals when you are an athlete will affect your performance.
Proper nutrition coupled by a fit, healthy lifestyle is the best way to control weight. Proper weight is critical for athletes. Excess weight could slow the body down, affect endurance, and cause a variety of health problems. It is important for athletes to maintain a normal weight to achieve optimum health and performance.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the best types of foods for athletes are green, leafy, and high-fiber vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Choosing lean protein and low-fat dairy also contribute to a healthy weight. If you are an athlete and you want to keep your weight in check, we recommend working with a licensed dietician. A dietician will develop the right meal plan customized according to your needs.
Staying hydrated is critical for athletes. The body loses vital fluids through perspiration and breathing. If the body is not getting enough fluids, the muscles start to weaken. You are increasing your risk of dehydration if you do not drink up. Water lubricates the muscles and helps cells transport nutrients throughout the body. So drink up especially if you are engaged in an intense workout. Drink more if you are training regularly.
The nutrients from the food you eat help heal the body from the usual strains that come with training. When you are eating right, the body bounces back to its old self more quickly. How? Essential vitamins and minerals promote cell repair, cell regeneration, and healing.
Carbohydrates and protein aid in muscle growth and repair. After training, you want to replace the carbohydrates you lost to ensure speedy muscle recovery. That said, the portion of carbs and protein must be balanced and adjusted depending on the intensity and type of sport. Again, we recommend working with a licensed dietician to develop a customized meal plan for you.