Athlete’s Diet

Being an athlete is more than having the skills to shoot balls or score goals. You may have superior talent in the court but so do other athletes. There will come a time when you will be replaced by a new player. What you need in order to hold off the inevitable as long as possible is maintain your good health. A healthy diet can go a long way in keeping you in shape and in the game.

So what exactly does an athlete’s diet entails?

First, make room for carbohydrates. You heard it correctly. Leave the Atkins diet to other people. As somebody who is constantly involved in physical activities you need all the energy you can get and carbohydrate-rich foods are good sources of energy. If you are familiar with glycogen you know that it does wonders for your muscles. Glycogen is present in carbs therefore indulge. If you fail to eat enough carbohydrates, you tend to get easily exhausted and that is not an option especially if you are competing for endurance sports.

It is not surprising to learn that most coaches advise their players to consume large amounts of carbs days before the actual event. This is usually called “carbohydrate loading”. There are no “magic” pre-competition meals but a carbohydrate-rich diet comes close. Since any food or beverage that is regarded as carbohydrate-rich will do, you may as well stick to the ones you enjoy.

Second, eat meat. Protein helps in balancing the body’s amino acids and eating steak now and again is advisable. On the other hand, it will be better if you get your meat from fish or poultry. Tofu is another protein-rich food. As an athlete, your required daily protein intake is higher than others but make sure that you consume less protein than carbs. Carbs are still the most important part of an athlete’s diet.

Third, do not overlook vitamins and minerals. You can get them from supplements or from nature. Either way you have to maintain a healthy dose of vitamins. Let’s take Vitamin C as an example. Vitamin C speeds up the healing process and lessens the chances of soft tissue injury. Athletes and injuries are inseparable but taking 2,000 to 4,000 mg of Vitamin C with bioflavonoid ensures faster recovery time. Other vitamins and minerals that you should take are Vitamin E to lessen inflammation of injury, omega 3 fatty acids to put a stop to fat build-up, calcium to avoid muscle cramping, magnesium when you have cartilage injuries particularly in the knee and shoulder joints, and oxygen- boosting nutrients such as potassium and malic acid. Ask the team’s physician or your coach about the dosage

Fourth, say no to sweets. This may be tough if you have a sweet tooth. On the other hand, you know firsthand that practice makes perfect.

In time, you can live without sweets and sugar-filled drinks. There are two main reasons why sugar is not included in an athlete’s diet. One is sugar leads to dehydration. Dehydration, in turn, results to slow performance and may cause the game. The other reason is that sugar heightens the pain of wounds/injuries. If you cannot say no to sweets to save your life, at least cut back your intake. Indulge in small proportions.

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