Eating to Perform: 5 Important Nutrition and Hydration Tips for Athletes

March 17, 2017

This article was inspired by the story of Kalae, which you can watch here .

Proper nutrition and hydration is important for all of us, but it’s even more crucial for athletes in order for the body to perform better, and recover faster from rigorous training. Whether you are an athlete or someone who has taken up more high intensity workouts as part of becoming healthier, the following tips are good to keep in mind:

  1. Carbs are your friends. Despite some popular belief that a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates is the healthiest approach, the opposite is true for athletes who engage in long, rigorous, high-intensity training on a regular basis. Because carbs are absorbed into your bloodstream much faster than protein, make sure you get plenty of the right carbs while avoiding artificial sugars and excessive fats such as cakes and cookies. Instead, fuel up with fresh fruits, vegetables, as well as starches such as breads and pasta which will be quickly absorbed into your body as fuel.
  2. If engaging in sporting matches such as a game or competition, make sure to time your meals appropriately. Generally, it is smart to stop eating anything about four hours before the event so that your stomach isn’t full of the foods you may have been loading up on. Note that this tip is only applicable to athletes who engage in competitions, not just regular exercise.
  3. When training for longer than 90 minutes at a time, make sure to replenish your nutrient and hydration levels by frequently drinking water and consuming easy to eat snacks such as fruits, fruit juice, energy bars, and sports drinks.
  4. Don’t forget about protein! Although athletes get most of their energy from carbohydrates, protein is essential for gaining and strengthening your muscles. With protein, it is very important to know how much you need, which is determined by your body weight. Although it may be easier and tempting to consume protein-containing supplements, natural sources of protein from food will be easier for your body to absorb.
  5. Stay hydrated! This one seems like an obvious, but it is surprising how many athletes fall victim to dehydration and can see very serious consequences as a result. Sweating is guaranteed while you train hard, and in the process you will lose fluids and electrolytes, so it is very important to replace them daily to give your body the best chance at recovering and staying healthy.

Sports nutrition is just as important as the hours you put into your training, and in some cases it can be the difference between being a strong athlete or serious health complications that may arise from lack of proper nutrition or dehydration. Nutrition is a very important part of a healthy life, and it’s even more crucial for athletes.

Before starting any training regimen, make sure to talk with your doctor, nutritionist, and trainer and find out the exact nutrition plan that will be right for you and your training. If you’re curious about what the right plan would be for you, or if you’d like to speak to a specialist, make an appointment today.

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