Being an athlete requires you to have a healthy lifestyle. Eating the right foods and getting sufficient amounts of nutrients can help you achieve your goals. Same as a car that needs fuel to run, you also need a healthy eating plan to fuel yourself during training sessions and, most especially, competitions.
In this article, you’ll learn how nutrition plays a crucial role in ensuring excellent overall performance in your journey as an athlete.
Nutrition Fuels Your Body
As an athlete, you need to determine the amount of food you should take, and it should depend on your weight, age, height, type of sport you engage in, and the amount of training you get. You should also consider a college athlete diet as you need the strength and energy to handle academics and sports activities.
Whenever you train, you burn calories; thus, you need to replenish them. Calories come in different forms, such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Protein is one of the nutrients found in foods such as eggs, milk, nuts, and meat. Consuming sufficient amounts of protein daily can help build your muscle, but it should only make up 10% to 15% of your daily calorie intake to prevent harming your kidneys and liver.
Fat can fuel your body and help build strength. However, fat should only make up 30% of your daily calorie intake because you have to work more to burn them. You may opt for unsaturated fats, which are healthier, to prevent risks of health issues.
Carbohydrates provide massive amounts of calories as they can cover 55% to 60% of your daily calorie intake. Foods that are high in carbohydrates include oats, bananas, and potatoes.
Nutrition Increases Energy And Prevents Fatigue
It’s common for athletes to experience fatigue due to the strenuous nature of their training sessions. However, most people tend to neglect the fact that inadequate nutrition is also a factor that causes fatigue. Unfortunately, athlete fatigue can also be a sign of certain diseases, such as celiac fatigue.
Opting for processed foods and beverages containing caffeine increases the possibility that you’ll develop chronic tiredness. With the help of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as leading a healthy lifestyle, you can safeguard yourself from illnesses no matter how rigorous your training may be.
Moreover, an inadequate amount of carbs can lead to a lack of energy and concentration, loss of muscle strength, and even depression. By consuming carbohydrate-rich foods, you can fuel and energize both your body and brain, helping you prevent fatigue.
Nutrition Prevents Injuries
Injuries often happen to athletes during training, but you can implement preventive measures by ensuring that you consume nutritious foods.
Most of the time, athletes suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which causes bone injuries and affects muscle strength. To avoid these issues, ensure that you get a sufficient amount of vitamin D by consuming fatty fish, spending time under the sun, and taking supplements.
Furthermore, getting inflamed muscles is inevitable among athletes. Fortunately, foods high in omega-3 can prevent inflammation.
Also, being unable to work out because of an injury can cause muscle strength loss even if you take an adequate amount of protein. By taking supplements, such as leucine, it can cause inactive muscle loss and increase your muscles’ protein content.
Nutrition Improves Immune System
An athlete’s immune system is susceptible to the attack of harmful elements, particularly during heavy training, competitions, and rainy or winter seasons. Compromising their immune system can make them sick frequently, increasing the risks of upper respiratory infections.
As an athlete, you have to ensure that you have a strong immune system to be able to fight diseases, which can make you feel weak during training and competitions and become a hindrance to your success.
To keep such things from happening, you need to supply your body with enough amounts of nutrients, which you can get by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Here are some of the essential nutrients your body needs to boost your immune system and ensure peak athletic performance at all times:
Vitamin D – This can be found in milk, butter, eggs, and fish oil.
Vitamin A – Good sources of vitamin A include eggs, liver, as well as red and orange fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, like kiwis, grapefruits, oranges, berries, tomatoes, and peppers, are rich in Vitamin C.
Essential Fatty Acids – Fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, and mackerel, as well as seeds and nuts are good sources of essential fatty acids.
Selenium – Selenium can be found in unrefined whole bread, seafood, and seeds and nuts.
Zinc – This can be found in fish, meat, shellfish, as well as whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Nutrition plays a massive role in keeping you healthy and helping you become a strong and excellent athlete. And, now that you already know that good nutrition fuels your body, increases your energy levels, prevents fatigue and injuries, and boosts your immune system, start planning your diet today to ensure peak athletic performance and overall well-being.