5 Nutrition rules every athlete should know
By Roy Kim, May 04 2015
Nutrition is the most important part of maintaining a healthy body. Athletes know that when their bodies are working at an optimal level, their performance will also improve. So if you want to step your game up here are 5 nutrition rules every athlete needs to know:
Eat Real Food. Dietary supplements are a common thing for athletes to use in order to supply their bodies essential nutrients. However, many of the supplements you can find out there including the ever-popular protein powders may contain nutrients NOT derived from natural sources. Oftentimes those powders supply convenience but little nutritional value. There are some supplements made from real food, but the best option is to always consume whole natural forms of nutrients from fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds & nuts, whole grains and clean meat like grass fed beef.
Get a Blend of Nutrients. Hard working athletes need protein – that’s a fact. But they also need a wide range of other nutrients including all of the essential and nonessential amino acids, omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and even sugars. The body uses all types of nutrients together in order to perform its many functions including muscle growth, soft tissue repair, fat loss and maintaining energy levels. Without all of them working together your athletic performance can suffer.
Timing is Everything. What an athlete eats can be just as important as when they eat. This theory is called nutrient timing and it’s a popular concept among fitness professionals. Basically it means that by eating specific nutrients at certain times you can get an edge over your competition. Used by bodybuilders, fitness competitors, runners, swimmers, bikers and other high-intensity athletes, nutrient timing is an important strategy. For example, if you did a weightlifting workout you would want to consume a good amount of protein within 30 minutes of finishing your training to maximize muscle growth.
Go For Natural Energy. It is common for athletes to reach for a quick source of energy to power through tough workouts or to be the first finisher. But many times energy supplements contain large amounts of sugar. Opt for a natural source of lasting energy from whole foods whenever possible. Sugar will always leave you with an energy lull and food cravings later on.
Drink Up! Most people don’t know that water is not only an essential nutrient but it’s also a powerful detoxifier. Drink enough of it and your body will eliminate all of those toxins and waste that can be holding you back from being the best at what you do. Aim to get the recommended 8 8-oz glasses a day for optimal cellular function, muscle response and a clear head for fast responses during any athletic performance.