An Athlete’s diet: The ideal nutrition in Sports.
Multiple factors determine success in sports, including consistency, determination, motivation, ability, and capacity to resist injury. They are key aspects that enshrine any athlete in any sport, or at least about the success gap.
In top performers or athletes who want a successful career, every detail counts.
Diet is a key point in the sporting area, and the food we eat during training and competition will help with the success or failure of it. Each athlete must have a specific diet designed to meet and satisfy their nutritional needs. Developing a feeding strategy is necessary in order to achieve your goals. This diet must be able to adapt with time and the athlete improvement in your area. It must be flexible and rigid at the same time, able to mold itself, to remove and put food as needed, but strong enough to be the key factor that the athlete needs.
Diet is a decisive factor in training. Eating properly can help to maintain the intensity of training. Muscles depend on the energy given to them. Athletes get this energy from the food they consume. You must maintain a balance between inputs (intake) and outputs (energy expenditure). Having too much energy would trigger the accumulation, which translates into an increase in body fat; on the other hand lack of energy would not only decrease physical performance but could also increase the risk of disease.
How to make your diet more like an athlete’s
- Base your nutritional plan on healthy foods. Stay away from miracle diets, unnecessary supplements, fake fat-burning, performance-enhancing pills, etc. Build the house from the foundation, with a good diet. Later you can vary, but without that well-defined base, you still have a lot to do.
- Hydrate yourself. Between 50-60% of your body is water. Any chemical reaction that originates in your body takes place in an aqueous medium: muscles are no exception. Slight dehydration (between 2-3%) implies a drop in performance. Also, a dehydrated muscle is more likely to suffer injuries.
- Focus your diet on natural foods. They are much cheaper, more nutritious and will help you meet your daily nutrient needs. At the same time, you save on large amounts of salt, preservatives and artificial colorings, trans fats, and countless products we do not know the impact they will have on our body in the long term. You can include foods with digestive properties and enjoy the benefits of ginger.
- Give priority to vegetables and fruits consumption. There is no healthy or optimal diet to get a good performance if the dietary base is not governed by being rich in fruits and vegetables. Both vegetables and fruits give us a compute of minerals, vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients you probably won’t find in another food group. They act as a “polypharmacy” with positive and synergistic effects. Scientists discover every day new compounds in food groups with positive functional effects on the body.
- Plan your meals. One of the best ways to ensure that you will eat what ideally suits you in each shot. If you leave your choice to free will and when your hunger is voracious, you will probably opt for what you want at that moment instead of opting for what suits you best. Plan, shop and prepare what you need ahead of time for each occasion.
- ATTENTION to “Nutrient Timing”. And what is it? Knowing how to choose what to eat before, during and after exercise. Many metabolic changes are generated in your muscle during physical activity and a posteriori. We are interested in maximizing performance, optimizing training adaptations and speeding up recovery between workouts. That is why it is important to provide the muscle with each and every one of the nutrients it needs to express its maximum potential. This is key and of great importance in sports nutrition.
- Farewell to the fear of fat. For many years athletes have been panicking about fats. Experts now know it that a very low-fat diet has a negative impact on performance and health. The truth is, fats go beyond being a very caloric food and as you choose them will benefit your cardiovascular health. As the essential omega-3 fatty acids (we cannot manufacture them ourselves) that exert very important structural functions and regulate the inflammatory processes; you can found them in fatty fish or in seeds (chia or linseed), in nuts (almonds, walnuts or pistachios). A diet low in saturated fats can trigger a drop in the level of testosterone. We should take neither too many nor too few fats, the ideal thing: the just ones but always we will choose the ones of greater quality. Introduce in your diet foods rich in healthy fats: nuts, olive oil, avocado or seeds.
- Flee from carbohydrate phobia. Many miracle diet sellers talk about false health benefits and performance benefits by minimizing carbohydrate consumption. There is no evidence that this is true. It could seriously affect sports performance and hormone regulation. You must adjust your carbohydrate intake by personalizing it to your level of physical activity; choose quality carbohydrates: legumes, fruits, tubers, whole grains…; avoid added refined sugars and refined products in general.
- Optimum consumption of proteins. Proteins are essential for the body to recover; regenerate and repair damaged or overused muscle tissues during training.
- Before including supplements, INFORM YOURSELF! The market for sports supplements is multi-varied, all promising amazing results. I am sorry to tell you that only a few have scientific backing to support their benefits. At best, you’ll throw away the money. In the worst case, you will consume adulterated products that contain undeclared substances, many turn out to be doping and can even affect your health. Therefore, before venturing into the world of supplements, consult with an expert, a qualified professional to advise you and put in order which supplements are ideal for you in a personalized way.