Proper nutrition is an absolute requirement for everyone, but especially for athletes. Unless you feed your body correctly before a workout, you’ll never gain full results from that workout. There are a few key nutritional guidelines that all athletes should follow. In this article we will discuss a few tips that can help to make following those guidelines easier on you.
One tip when thinking about nutrition is nutrient density. How rich in nutrients is the food you’re eating – not by weight, but by calorie? You would be surprised to learn, for example, that when measured by CALORIES, a vegetable like broccoli is surprisingly high in protein – comparable, calorie for calorie, to the amount of protein found in red meats. But of course you can eat far more broccoli for the same amount of calories, which also provides fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid.
If you can make one change to improve your nutrition, it should be to reduce or eliminate sugars. Much has been made of low-glycemic index foods, and indeed there is a strong basis to show that lowering sugars can guard against health problems such as diabetes, as well as lowering one’s appetite for sugary foods, which can contribute to weight loss.
Sounds basic, but you must look at food labels if you want to get the facts about nutrition in the foods you eat. In particular, look closely at the portion sizes; if that can of chips lists the average serving size as 10 chips, it’s a pretty good bet that you’re going to be eating some multiple of that number, so you should figure that into your estimates of what the food will be doing for (or to) you, nutritionally speaking.
The holistic approach says we are mind and spirit as well as body. If we take this approach, nutrition becomes more complicated than if we only consider physical substances. If we include mind and spirit as having a transmuting effect on what we eat, then nutritional choices become subjective and individual to some degree.
Buying from a small farm near where you live has nutritional benefits. It can also have other benefits that are less calculable. If you go to the farm and talk with the farmer and see how the food is grown, you will gain a personal connection and satisfaction with your food.
If you are diabetic and you want to keep your blood sugar down, you should watch how many simple carbohydrates you eat. When broken down they turn into sugar and they can cause a very large spike in your blood glucose level. Eat whole grains if you are going to consume carbohydrates at all.
When considering your nutrition, do not over do it with vitamins and supplements. Multivitamin pills can never replace the amount of nutrients that you receive in eating food. While they are good to compliment your meal with, never substitute a pill for real food. Your body might not react well to a large intake of concentrated vitamins.
Eating the right diet that supports exercise levels and gives the body the required materials to rebuild itself, is a key component to physical fitness. Having the right amount of protein will allow for muscle growth. Providing enough carbohydrates will give the body fuel for the day. The right diet makes a big difference.
Even though french fries and mashed potatoes have little to no real nutritional value, the majority of restaurants and home-cooked meals tend to include them as sides to an already over-portioned dish. You can cut out as much as 300 calories simply by replacing potatoes with colorful steamed or fresh veggies.
While you do need to have a good amount of protein in your diet, it is not a good idea to eat too much meat, so you should try eating other protein-rich foods and eliminating meat sometimes. Good choices are peas, beans, tofu, and meat substitutes like seitan.
A great nutrition tip is to make sure you eat a proper meal before you work out. Eat a meal that will digest quickly, yet offer lots of quick energy. A good example of this type of food is fruit. Stay away from fatty foods that will just stagnate in your stomach.
If there is something really unhealthy that you just absolutely love try to find a good substitute. For example, for people who love white pasta there is a great substitute made from squash. When you put sauce on top of it it becomes almost impossible to tell the difference from the real thing.
In this article we have discussed some tips that can make it easier for athletes to maintain a nutritionally sound diet. Proper nutrition is an essential part of any fitness program and without it, you will never see the results you’re hoping for. Keep these tips in mind, and follow them daily for optimal results from your fitness routine.