Enhancing and practicing the nutritional aspect of your sport will decrease recovery time, increase your energy and stamina, improve your overall health, and allow you to perform at the top of your game. Nutrition can ultimately be your secret weapon. Here are the top ten nutrition tips for training in any sport:
- It’s important to practice good nutrition every day, not just during practice or competition. You need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to optimize your nutrition. This translates into committing to eating well throughout the whole day outside of your athletic arena.
- Proper hydration starts before you hit the practice field. Take note to stay hydrated throughout the day. Directly before activity, aim to drink approximately one cup of water, and then continue to stay hydrated during vigorous exercise. Your body should not need sports drinks unless your activity exceeds one hour.
- Eat real. Choose fruits and vegetables over processed and packaged foods. This easily translates into a more balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.
- Eat the right carbohydrates. Take in higher fiber unprocessed carbohydrates to reap the benefits of fiber, vitamins and less empty calories. Carbohydrates are a necessity for an active athlete to provide ongoing fuel during practice and competition.
- Don’t cut the fat. Eating too little fat is unhealthy and can harm performance. You want to take in healthier unsaturated fats as part of your daily balanced diet.
- Stay away from the fads. Avoid sudden changes in your diet, especially on race day or during competitions. Also, do not be tempted by energy drinks or supplements for performance enhancements as they can come with hidden side effects and overall detrimental effects on performance.
- Steer clear from junk food. Eat to train instead of training to eat. Don’t view food as a reward for your hard work but rather fuel to reach your athletic goals. Exercise does not give you the freedom to eat extra empty calories like ice cream and candy.
- Recover with nutrition. Recovery does not just come with rest. Immediately following vigorous exercise it is essential to refuel your glycogen stores and repair your muscles with a combination of carbohydrates and protein. Hydration is key to proper recovery as well.
- Know what to avoid. Know what your stomach can handle. Do not eat something that doesn’t work for you and definitely don’t experiment with new foods on race days or competitions.
- Train your nutrition. Train with the same nutrition you use during practice during those games or competitions. Just as you train your arms, legs and brain, you have to train your gut.
Remember that proper nutrition can elevate your game in your sport and can help you edge out the competition. Always aim to fuel for optimal performance!
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