Did you know that the way you eat has a big impact on the success of your workouts? Good nutrition is a top priority for successful athletes because food supplies the energy necessary to be able to push through a workout. Plus, eating the right foods can help build muscles, repair muscle damage, and prevent athletes who train vigorously from losing too much weight. The old adage “you are what you eat” holds especially true if you are eating to enhance your performance. Eat to be a winner!
The first mistake many athletes make is not eating enough calories to replace what is lost during a workout. For many people, the last thing they want to do after a great workout is ruin it by eating. However, eating after a workout is often critical in order to keep the body functioning at a high level and can actually help make the workout more effective. Eating a 100-200 calorie snack after exercise will replace lost calories and ensure that you are not mindlessly munching later.
Eating the right kind of food is extremely important for athletes. A properly balanced diet will ensure that the body is receiving the nutrients it needs in order to function properly and receive the most benefit from a workout. Cutting out certain food groups, such as carbs, will only hurt in the long run. Each food group provides the essential necessities the body needs to power through a workout.
Carbohydrates, in the form of whole grains, give the body energy. Lean protein helps muscles repair themselves after working out. Fats are important even to an athlete, as long as they are the healthy kind, such as omega-3’s and plant oils. They give an athlete fuel and calories. Last, plain old water should be a priority for any athlete in order to prevent headaches or muscle cramps after working out.
Another important performance-enhancing nutrition tip for athletes involves making breakfast a priority. No matter what time of day you prefer to work out, starting the day with breakfast helps give you plenty of energy throughout the day for daily activities in addition to the extra energy needed for working out. After you sleep, your body needs to refuel the glycogen in the liver with carbs, proteins, and fat. If you skip breakfast regularly, your body does not have the chance to do this and your workout performance might suffer.
Before your next workout, remember that a great workout session begins with proper nutrition. When your body has the healthy fuel it needs, it can power through those workout sessions with plenty of energy leftover for enjoying the rest of your day!