Diet and recovery form an intrinsic cycle for all athletes, irrespective of their age or the sports they play. It is very important for sportspersons to focus on their diet and augment their performance with every passing day.
To serve exactly this purpose, we bring you 5 nutrition tips from the best sources to up your performance on the field. Implement these in your diet and watch your body do things with ease!
1. Carbs are not your enemy
If you have a long training session ahead of you, then loading up on carbs will give you the energy you need to perform.
Don’t believe us? Take a look at what elite tennis player and CCH celebrity mentor Mahesh Bhupathi has to say: Ideal Match Day Diet | Mahesh Bhupathi
Try having complex carbs because they digest slowly and keep releasing bursts of energy over a long period of time, i.e., throughout the entire session. Good options for complex carbs are a bowl of oats, slices of multigrain bread, and brown rice among others.
In fact, according to sports dietician Joy Dubost, loading up on carbs for 3-4 days before a high-intensity performance will help restore your glycogen levels.
2. Know your protein
While protein does not provide much energy to the body, it is used by our system as a building block for muscles.
Every athlete needs to make sure they are taking in the right amount of protein according to their body weight and training regimen. An average person with no athletic pursuits needs 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight.
This means an average 60 kilo person will need 48 grams of protein.
However, athletes need more than the normal amount. The amount of protein though, depends on their training regimen and sport. A strength athlete might have to consume 1.7 grams of protein/ per kg/ day while athletes who are more dependent on endurance consume around 1-1.2 grams/ per kg of protein per day.
Another thing an athlete should keep in mind is the type of protein:
Whey is a fast-digesting protein derived from milk and is used predominantly to make protein powder. Casein is a slow-digesting protein derived from milk and is found in curd, paneer, and yogurt. Other good protein sources include lean meat, eggs, pulses, and soyabean among others.
3. Always keep yourself hydrated
Hydration is very important for athletes. If it wasn’t, there would not be so many drinks breaks in sports.
Remembering to drink plenty of water during, before, and after practice sessions is key. Post-workout hydration should focus on restoring glucose and electrolytes, so you can add some Glucose formula or mix ORS in your water.
Pre-workout hydration should focus on delivering energy for your practice session. You can add a pre-workout supplement or add a tsp of coffee to give you the energy burst you need.
4. Eat unsaturated fatty foods
While it is not advisable to have fatty foods on the day of your performance, eating healthy unsaturated fatty foods is important. It helps keep your joints healthy and also increases performance as long as you have a balanced body composition as required by your sport.
Different sporting events require different body compositions – marathon runners and endurance athletes are expected to be lean. On the other hand, strength athletes focus on having a healthy amount of body fat to increase their leverage in performance.
Good fat sources include almonds, avocados, milk, olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish.
5. Micronutrients are important
Macros like carbs, proteins, and fats make the majority of any balanced diet. However, sometimes a lot of athletes forget to fill up their micronutrient’s quota.
The 5 most important micro-nutrients are Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Magnesium and Zinc. You can get a healthy serving of all of these nutrients from a multivitamin tablet. If you are unsure about which one will suit your needs, consult your physician for guidance.
Keep these nutritional tips in mind while working on your diet or your children’s diet, especially if they are into performance sports. It will help maximize their potential and allow them to achieve the peak physical conditioning required to excel.
Got your own diet tips that have worked for you? Share it with your community in the comments section.