For an athlete, physical health is an imperative component of an active lifestyle. The diet of an athlete is not so different as compared to a health-conscious person who is striving for a healthy lifestyle. An athlete just needs to focus on specific food groups; they should be consuming more of. As they always need extra energy, whether it’s for getting the ball or giving themselves a final boost to get them across the finish line. They always need to make sure they have sufficient energy before they perform, which they do by consuming enough calories, vitamins, and other nutrients.
Athletes should know what they need to eat and how much according to,
- The sport they play
- The amount of time they train
- The type of training they do
We’re going to tell you what foods are best for athletes and how it will benefit them in their respective sport. If a person gets tired during training or performance, he is most likely running low on either of the following,
- Fluids (dehydration)
- Iron, minerals, and various vitamins
The list we mentioned above will be our primary focus, and you will get to know how the foods we recommend contain these nutrients.
Foods that are a must for athletes
Some of you may not know, but bananas are an excellent source of natural electrolyte and are low calorie. Electrolytes always need replenishing after a routine workout or a performance, so it is the go-to snack for athletes. The reason for that is bananas are rich in potassium, and that makes it an excellent post-workout snack. Bananas will help you keep a regular fluid intake as you will be taking water before and after the workout. It also reduces the possibility of muscle spasm and cramps.
Beans and Legumes
Now, if you are a vegetarian and an athlete, it might be difficult for you to find foods rich in proteins other than meat. Well, beans and legumes provide an ample amount of carbohydrates and protein that are sufficient for an athlete. Here is why you should add beans to your diet as an athlete,
- Beans are the natural carbohydrate-protein combination. To build up stamina, you need carbohydrates for pumping up the muscles and proteins to repair and build the muscles. Beans are a prodigious way to fuel up after a hard workout. A good snack made of beans would be a hummus wrap, a bean burrito, or a bowl of chili.
- Beans are known to have a very low glycemic index. This basically means that they take time to digest, the process is slow, so that in turn, offers constant amounts of energy for a long time.
- Beans are really good for your heart. The fiber in the beans helps protect you against various heart diseases. It does that by lowering the cholesterol in the blood
- Beans are pretty rich in fiber, almost 7-8 grams per half-cup. This is an advantage over meat or chicken, both of which don’t contain any fiber.
Pumpkin seeds are perfect for the people who have good general health. During training and exercise, some people get out of breath quite easily and have difficulty controlling their heart rate. The reason for all this is iron deficiency in your body. Iron plays an important role in the production of healthy red blood cells. Pumpkin seed and squash are a very reliable source of plant-based iron. The seeds are full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
This particular fish provides lean, muscle developing protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients assist in reducing the inflammation in the body after continued and prolonged training sessions. This fish meat is an artery cleanser, meaning it prevents heart disease. It is recommended that an athlete should take at least an eight-ounce serving of salmon per week.
The best source for energy carbohydrates is oatmeal, which is due to it being high in fiber. It helps you feel filled for longer periods and gives the person a constant supply of energy. It also helps diminish the risk of heart attacks because it is 100% whole grain. For all the athletes out there trying to gain weight, this is the best option. A thing to keep in mind is to always go for the steel-cut oats rather than the instant ones. The instant oats comprise a high glycemic index and will cause your insulin level to spike, which will, in turn, result in you storing the carbs as fat in the body.
Additionally, being an athlete, you also have to look after these things as well:
Keeping yourself hydrated is vital if you want to improve your performance. Maintaining your fluid level will increase your overall performance, and you will feel less tired. Some say hydration is key to a good sports performance. What you can do is make a hydration plan for yourself, keeping in mind that the rule for training is that you take,
- 2 cups of fluid before training
- 4-6 ounces every 15 minutes of exercise.
Now, it all depends upon your pre- and post-workout fluid losses. You can find that out by measuring your weight before and after a workout. For every pound you lose, replace it with 16 ounces of fluid, easy!
Now, what should you be drinking? Here are some of our recommendations,
- Low-fat milk
- 100% juice
If you’re thinking about why we did not include energy drinks and other sports beverages. Well, they work best if you use them in competitions, not in routine workouts.
Supplements and steroids
You should be taking supplements if you do not meet the minimum requirements for taking the right nutrients. That may as well be food or dietary supplements or performance-enhancing ones. Dietary supplements are really helpful when a person is allergic to a certain food from which he requires a certain nutrient. Here are some supplements you should be using,
Vitamin B helps to release energy across the body by providing aid in the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. Having B vitamins deficiency will surely affect how well a person can perform. So, you must ensure to take Vitamin B supplement for a good training session and to avail maximum endurance.
Iron deficiency is very common in athletes, and it is a very recurring problem in the sports world. It is more common in women who do endurance sports. Consequently, athletes should include supplements containing iron in their diet.
Steroids are human-made products that are similar to certain hormones in the body. The body makes some of its own steroids to fight stress and promote growth and development. The artificial steroids go by the name of anabolic steroids. They are very similar to the male-type sex hormones, i.e., testosterone. There are hundreds of different types of steroids, with the most famous and powerful ones being testosterone. However, using steroids in a performance event is illegal and can lead to disqualification. However, if you’re using any form of steroids and happen to undergo a drug test, using the best synthetic urine available in the market will help you in coming out clean.
We hope the food and supplements named above help you in getting a healthy lifestyle. All the things mentioned above are proven, and many successful athletes recommend them. Before taking supplements and steroids, consult your doctor and get tests done to see what deficiencies are present. It will surely give you an idea of where to start and what foods your diet should rely on.