Everyone has different nutritional needs based on their gender, size, activity level, body type, and medical situation. For athletes, nutrition becomes doubly important, as they need to be able to train for hours on end and have enough fuel to perform. For your average person who works out less than 90 minutes straight at a time and who does not do intense weights, there is no need to alter a diet. For athletes though, even amateur athletes or marathon runners, you will need to start to change your diet to keep yourself healthy and get the most out of your performance. Here are some general tips from TWIST to help athletes with their nutritional goals.
For every athlete carbs are the primary fuel. Carbs are broken down by the body into glucose which is stored in your muscles as glycogen and releases when you exercise to fuel you. If you are doing less than an hour and a half of exercise at a time, then your muscles will have enough glycogen to get you through your workout. For those who work out for over an hour and a half, you will need load up on carbs beforehand to fuel you throughout your workout, especially before an event or race. Our tips for carb loading include:
● Carb load three to four days before a game, this will help raise your glycogen stores, so there is enough for you to play your best.
● Have a diet of 70% calories from carbs (this may vary for individuals, nutritional counselling is the best way to find out your carb needs).
● Eat and drink throughout long workout sessions, every 15-20 minutes. Fruit and fruit juice are great options.
● Ensure you eat carbs after a workout to reload, include protein in this to support your muscle growth.
Protein for Muscle Maintenance
You need to eat protein to support your current muscles and promote muscle growth. While protein supplements can help athletes, too much protein can put a strain on kidneys, so getting protein from food sources like meat, fish, beans, eggs, nuts, and dairy is a better option. For those who can have dairy, milk is a great recovery food because it has lactose for sugar as well as protein for muscles and calcium to help with bones.
Go for Good Fats
Fat is necessary for the body to perform all of its functions, but you want to be getting good fat. Nuts, avocados, olives, olive oil, vegetable oil, and fatty fish are excellent sources of fat that will help fuel you. We need fat in our diets to absorb certain vitamins, and fatty acids are essential in overall health. Do avoid fat on the day of an event, as fat can upset some peoples stomachs.
One of the most important things that athletes must do is hydrate and hydrate well. Proper hydration keeps lactic acid buildup at bay, replenishes the body after you sweat, and energy drinks (homemade or store bought) keep your electrolytes up. Remember, if you already feel thirsty you are dehydrated!
Nutritional Counselling at TWIST
At TWIST Performance Wellness we offer fitness classes and personal training in Burlington to help people of every athletic background, ability, and goals. Part of our program is holistic
nutritional counselling. Everybody needs something different to achieve their goals and through one on one nutritional counselling, offered once, twice, or four times per month, our clients can
get the best out of the food they eat on a personalized level. Contact us today and start achieving your personal best.