We’ve all heard how important proper diet and exercise is, but have you ever looked at how what you eat affects your athletic performance? The truth is, maintaining a good, healthy diet can help you increase your fitness benefits, while improving your fitness can help you digest and use food better. It’s not only what you eat, but what your body is able to do with it that is also important. Here are some tips to help you give your body the right fuel for your best performance.
1. Don’t skimp on the fats. Yes, that’s right, no matter how the media and diet gurus love to advertise the benefits of “low fat,” your body actually requires some good, healthy fat in order to operate at optimal performance.Fat gives you energy for any type of endurance exercise, from running to cycling. In fact, if you’re not consuming enough healthy fats, your athletic performance will actually decrease.
2. Calories count! Your body needs calories in order to compensate for the energy you use up, specially during workouts, races, and other fitness activities. Without calories, your body wouldn’t have the energy itneed to perform even small tasks. However, the amount of calories you take in and the source of your calories is what counts, and it truly is a personal amount based on your physical makeup, the type and frequency of exercise and your food preerences.
3. Your daily value helps your daily workout. You may not get energy from them, but vitamins and minerals help your body perform the important functions necessary for you to be able to work out. For example, calcium gives you healthy bones to bear the load and help you perform the movements that are part of your workout.
4. Knowing what to avoid is also important. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but eating foods that are loaded with fat, calories, sugar or salt will not only make you feel physically less than your best, but they can also derail your workouts. It may seem like sugar will give your energy a boost, but the high doesn’t last and you’ll end up crashing too early. The wrong kinds of fat can leave you feeling too tired to work out because your body takes extra time and energy to digest them. Even some good-for-you foods aren’t a good choice if you plan to work out right away. Foods high in fiber before a workout can give your stomach a painful workout and leave you doubled over instead of doing reps.
You can have a great workout by not only paying attention to your performance during practice or workout routine, but also by paying attention to what you are eating before a workout and throughout the day. Performing, looking and feeling your best go hand in hand with fueling your body with the best…it’s a win-win!