Physical fitness and mental well-being are vital for any athlete or for that matter any sports person. And that comes with proper nourishment on a daily basis. As an athlete, you don’t need a special diet; what you do require is a disciplined approach in following guidelines for healthy eating.
The American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine state that ‘physical activity, athletic performance, and recovery from exercise are enhanced by optimal nutrition’ and recommend ‘appropriate selection of foods and fluids, timing of intake, and supplement choices for optimal health and exercise performance’.
Each athlete has a unique constitution; so there is no single diet that can meet the requirements of all athletes at all times. Good food choices and a strictly-followed diet will support the intensive trainings you require while limiting the risk of injuries.
So, irrespective of whether you are a man or a woman, your age, or your level of competition, a good diet will help you:
► Achieve and maintain an ideal body weight
► Support your training programs
► Limit your risks of injury and illness
► Help to recover quickly from injury and illness
► Enhance your performance consistently
Despite the benefits, there are challenges that athletes face to meet their dietary goals. Most common ones are:
► Not having the resources to afford the advice of dietitians
► Unavailability of registered sports dietitians in the area
► Non-availability of good food choices
► Limited or no knowledge of diets
► Lack of time in following the diet strictly and consistently because of frequent traveling or busy lifestyle
Ultimately, exploring food choices, including high fiber, low glycemic foods at every meal, and making the most of seasonal fruits and vegetables, could limit these challenges.