Diet and Nutrition for Athletes
If you’re going to meet your fitness goals, see athletic growth and improvement, and rise to the top of your game, you have to eat the right stuff. According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, there are a few critical components athletes should consider when creating a nutrition regimen:
- Water and sports drinks: If athletes don’t drink enough fluids to sustain them during intense physical activity, their athletic performance may be reduced. Whether you prefer sports drinks or good, old-fashioned water, be sure to drink at least two 8-ounce bottles of water in the hours leading up to a workout. To maintain a high level of performance, it’s also important to continue hydrating every 15 minutes while exercising. Because of the additional electrolytes and carbohydrates they supply, sports drinks may be a better option for endurance athletes.
- Protein-rich foods: Whether you’re a competitive athlete or an average gym-goer trying to meet your New Year’s fitness goals, your body needs around 1.5g of protein per kilogram of your total body weight each day (even more if you’re lifting heavy weights, working on endurance, or building strength). To stay at the top of your game, be sure to incorporate chicken, eggs, beans, seafood, dairy products, and other protein-rich foods into your weekly meal prep.
- Fatty foods: There are good fats and bad fats (though the bad ones always seem to be the most tempting). When you include good fats in your diet, such as avocados, coconut products, salmon, almonds, and other nuts, it promotes the absorption of important vitamins. Your body then uses those important fatty acids as fuel. According to the AOSSM, between 20 and 35 percent of your total caloric intake should be good fats (and less than 10 percent of that should be saturated fats).
Caloric Deficiency Can Contribute to Injury
Eating the right food is critical, and it’s also important to eat enough of it. If you’re trying to burn off fat, it may be tempting to pair strenuous exercise with a strict diet that leaves you with far less than your body needs. It’s true that you may see faster results in terms of dropping excess fat, but caloric deficiency is bad for you in the long run and puts you at a greater risk of injury.
Intense exercise and athletic activity place high energy demands on your body. If it doesn’t have enough calories to meet these demands, your body goes into a catabolic state. When this happens, your muscles begin to deteriorate (rather than the fat you’re working so hard to shed), and your body’s ability to repair damaged tissues is diminished. When your muscle mass is decreased, you increase your risk of injury during periods of strenuous physical activity.
Already Injured? Consult with an Aberdeen Physical Therapist Today.
Our team of experts at ProFysio Physical Therapy has served hundreds of clients experiencing injuries that stem from sports and exercise. Whether or not diet played a role in your injury, our Aberdeen physical therapy team is here to help you identify the problem and work together to create a personalized rehabilitation plan to help you get back to crushing your fitness goals.
Speak with a member of our team to schedule your free consultation. Call us at (732) 333-6360 or contact us online.