Best Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes
Take care of the carbohydrate–protein ratio and avoid dehydration if you are an athlete looking for maximal performance and maintenance.
Following are some diet and nutrition tips for athletes that need to be followed to improve performance and remain physically and mentally fit.
- Avoid exercising on empty stomach. Determine the most suitable time for you to eat before exercising and the right amount to eat.
- Drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses as you should be well hydrated before exercise.
- Use nutritional ergogenic aids with caution and after carefully evaluating them for safety, efficacy, potency and legality. Some of the legal ergogenic aids are listed on page 2.
- A varied diet of cereals, vegetables, fruits, legumes, dairy foods, fish and lean meats can ensure all essential vitamins and minerals and meet your energy needs.
- Be careful with protein intake. Too much protein in the diet can increase body fat and can increase the chances of dehydration along with calcium loss.
- Fat intake should be sufficient to provide the essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins and to contribute energy for weight maintenance.
- Have a glass of fruit juice or a cup of yogurt before exercise if you are exercising for more than one hour.
- If you are training for more than one and a half hours, take more carbohydrates with protein (sports bar, granola, etc) after 2 hours.
- Drink a 6 to 8 percent glucose solution during the event. If working out for three to four hours, make sure to retain maximum levels of glycogen in the muscles and liver.
- Eating sugar or honey just before the exercise won’t help rather it may lead to dehydration. It takes about 30 minutes for the sugar to enter the bloodstream.
- Experimenting with diets for weight loss can lead to eating disorder and poor eating habits ultimately affecting performance. Work with a registered dietitian.
- Post workout protein and amino acid supplementation in the form of powders or pills is not recommended as it may lead to dehydration, weight gain and stress on the kidney and liver.
Combine good food choices with good training and conditioning, and be the winner all the way!
- American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Nutrition and athletic performance - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19225360)
- A perspective on fat intake in athletes - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10872896)