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Tips on Nutrition for Athletes

Kali Tam, Writer

Many young athletes believe that practicing hard is one of the only factors that determines how well they will perform on game day. Although practicing definitely affects how well you perform, proper nutrition also plays an essential role. Maintaining a good nutrition plan is important for everyone, but it is especially important for athletes since it can directly alter their performance level and change how well their body will recover itself after physical activity. Here are several nutritional tips that any athlete should incorporate into their lifestyle to enhance and maximize their athletic performance.

Focus on loading up with carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, which are involved in regulating your blood sugar and the glycogen level in your muscles, should be an athlete’s main source of energy. Choosing to eat foods that allow you to gain most of your calories from carbs, such as pasta, potatoes, whole grain bread, cereal, and vegetables, will ensure your energy intake remains high throughout the day and may even help prevent muscle fatigue. Carbohydrates are particularly helpful for endurance athletes because they can provide up to 75% of the energy that is needed during longer workouts.

Always stay hydrated

Staying hydrated before, during, and after any workout is definitely a vital nutrition tip that every athlete needs to carry out. Participating in intense exercise can quickly lead to dehydration, especially in hot weather, so it is essential that an athlete receives enough fluid everyday. For physical activity that lasts under 90 minutes, drinking water may be more beneficial than other liquids, since it is capable of transporting nutrients around your body and cooling your body down. However, during longer workouts, consuming a sports drink may more beneficial since it will allow you to replace electrolytes that have been lost due to heavy sweating.

Timing your meals

The time in which you have your meals is almost as important as the meals themselves. If you are going to eat a light snack before a competition, give your body at least 30 minutes to digest, and if you decide to eat a regular meal, it may require around three to four hours for your body to fully digest the food. After games or workouts, try to snack on some unprocessed food to allow your body to recover and repair your fatigued muscles.

Paying more attention to your nutritional health can drastically improve how well you perform during your games or practices, so try to incorporate some of these tips into your daily life!

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Tips on Nutrition for Athletes