Nutrition Tips for Athletes
Check out these 5 tips for proper nutrition when exercising at a moderate to high intensity for 90 minutes or more:
1. Load Up on Carbohydrates
Carbs are an athlete’s main fuel. Your body converts them to glucose, a form of sugar, and stores it in your muscles as glycogen. When you exercise, your body changes glycogen into energy. Don’t forget: vegetables and fruits are sources of carbohydrates. Check out our tips on carb loading here!
2. Get Enough Protein, But Not Too Much
Protein doesn’t provide a lot of fuel for energy. But you need it to maintain your muscles. Find out guidelines on protein intake here!
3. Go Easy on Fat
For long events, such as marathons, your body turns to fat for energy when carbohydrate sources run low. Most athletes get all the fat they need by following the basic dietary guideline to eat mostly unsaturated fat from foods such as nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Avoid fatty foods on the day of an event, since they can upset your stomach.
4. Drink Fluids Early and Often
Intense exercise, especially in hot weather, can quickly leave you dehydrated. Dehydration, in turn, can hurt your performance and, in extreme cases, threaten your life. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink, but instead start your hydration regimen early in the week before a big race or long run. More on hydration for athletes here!
5. Replace Lost Electrolytes
Sweating removes both fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes help transmit nerve signals in your body. To replenish them, reach for sports drinks. If you’re also losing a lot of fluid as you sweat, dilute sports drinks with equal amounts of water to get the best balance of fluid and electrolytes.
Article courtesy of WebMD.com and Kopf Running