To ensure optimal performance, an athlete’s diet needs to meet their energy demand. Their energy requirements are a lot higher than the average person and as such need to consume more calories.
Carbohydrates are the biggest source of energy and a go-to for many people taking part in high-intensity workout sessions. Healthy carb options include bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods. Protein is essential in repairing muscles and facilitating growth which is something athletes need to improve endurance and performance. Legumes, dairy, meats and eggs can all contain a healthy dose of protein.
Fats also form an essential part of providing energy and keeping hormone levels stable and healthy. Healthy fats can be found in coconut oil, nuts, nut butter and avocado.
5 Nutrition Tips For Peak Performance
Fruits and vegetables are a must
There’s a reason why we need to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and the same goes for athletes. Vegetables are low in fat and calories – depending on how you prepare it, of course. Veggies are also packed with nutrients such as fibre, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate.
Stay away from processed foods
Processed foods often lose their nutrients as they are made, which means that you need in order to eat more in an attempt to feel full and energised. They’re also packed with additives and preservatives in an attempt to taste better. Whole foods are a healthier option as they’re packed with nutrients and natural flavour.
Consume more protein
High protein diets are essential for high-performance athletes. Proteins are made up of amino acids, the building blocks of cells. To promote muscle development, regeneration, repair and strength, try adding more protein to your diet. Eggs, fish, chicken, nuts, nut butter and legumes are all rich sources of protein.
Hydration is important
Drops in hydration levels will impact your performance. Drinking water, sports drinks, fruit juice and even milk can help you stay hydrated. Sports drinks should not be mixed up with energy drinks such as Red Bull. Sports drinks are often packed with electrolytes to keep you hydrated throughout your session.
Consume whole grains
For energy, add whole grains to your diet as they’re packed with healthy carbohydrates which will keep your feeling full and energised for longer. It will also assist in weight management and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Whole grains are also packed with fibre, B vitamins and several minerals.
Sports nutrition plays an important part in ensuring peak performance. What you put into your body, and nourish your body with, is what you get out, which is why you have to have a healthy diet that facilitates this. This doesn’t mean that you are never eating unhealthy foods again; it simply means that you need to become more aware of what you consume and how it will affect your training and performance.
If you have any queries or apprehensions, please contact a sports nutritionist or your doctor – particularly if you have various underlying health conditions that involve a specific diet.
Better yet, why don’t you become a sports nutritionist yourself with our Sports Nutrition Diploma? For more information about this – as well as our other fitness and nutrition courses – please follow this link.