Healthy Eating For Athletes

Healthy Eating For Athletes

Healthy Eating For Athletes
Your body needs adequate fuel for athletics. Eat a healthy meal or snack loaded with proteins and carbohydrates. Consume carbohydrates like bread, pasta, fruit, cereal and vegetables so you have quick energy during exercise. And, the protein (grilled chicken, fish) you eat will help your muscles recover and grow, and also keep the blood cells healthy to deliver oxygen and nutrients. By drinking 16 ounces of water a few hours before exercise will help you stay hydrated. Its OK to use sports drinks if you perspire heavily, if the temperature and humidity is high, if you’re playing a team sport or if you’re exercising for more than 60 minutes. They provide necessary carbohydrates and sodium.

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    A , Administration, answered
    Caffeine may increase athletic performance sligthly in prolonged endurance exercise or short exercise that lasts at least 5 minutes. These mechanisms are not clear, however, and have not been studied extensively. Currently, professional athletes are allowed to have a certain acceptable amount of caffeine in their system, about what most people consume regularly. Caffeine has not been placed on a banned list for professional athletes.

    Caffeine can have a diuretic effect, but this is not an immediate effect that should have an impact on athletic performance. 
     
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    Because of mandated fight weights, and fighters trying to compete in lower weight classes, many combat sports athletes practice unsafe weight loss strategies (i.e. diuretics, saunas, plastic suits, fasts, etc.) to rapidly decrease their weight. These starvation practices do not support optimal performance and can also be hazardous to overall health.
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    A , Sports Medicine, answered
    Most people don't realize the importance of precompetition nutrition the day before an event. Pregame fuel should be your priority beginning at lunch the day prior to a match or game. Aim for each meal to be about two-thirds carbohydrates from grains, fruits and vegetables, and about one-third protein. There is no need to restrict fat and fiber at this point because there is still plenty of time for digestion, but you'll want to keep both low as you get closer to game time. It's also important to choose foods that you are accustomed to eating so as to avoid gastrointestinal distress. 

    On the day of an event you should consume calories consistently, every two to three hours, to ensure you are properly fueled. For example, if you are competing in the afternoon, your menu may include breakfast, a midmorning snack, lunch, and a pregame sports drink. While it is tempting to sleep in and get extra rest, you will be missing key opportunities to get energy into your system.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    I agree completely with the answer provided by NASM. Another issue I see is not taking in enough fluids. It is tempting when it is cold outside to trick yourself into believing you are not sweating. However, losses from respiration are much higher in the cold. Also, the many layers often worn by winter sports athletes are now much more breathable than they used to be. That means the body can more efficiently cool itself through sweating....hence fluid and electrolyte loss. So along with breaking for snacks to cover calorie loss, be sure to take in fluids as well. If you are a high-level winter sport athlete, I would recommend a sports drink instead of plain water.
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    Many power lifters (though not all) assume that because they can eat an unlimited amount of calories to gain size, those calories don’t have to come from nutrient dense, disease preventing, performance enhancing foods.
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    The culture of board sports is not like most other sports. In fact, many skateboarders would prefer not to be considered “athletes.” So, even if they are out there for hours, doing physically challenging tricks and moves, some are resistant to join the ranks of the athlete. Since skateboarding is often not considered a sport (more a way of life or lifestyle), the importance of nutrition and hydration often get underestimated.
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    Especially in females, the track and field culture tends to overvalue a light weight and many track and field athletes do not eat enough calories for their sport. If you don’t eat enough, you will be chronically fatigued, more prone to injury and will not reach your personal best.
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    Pre-game meals are important. The goal of the meal should be to top off energy and fluid stores. You should neither feel hungry or extremely full after the meal. However, it is important to keep in mind that most of your energy and fluid stores should be built up throughout the week. You should not depend on your pregame meal to replace the stores that you used earlier in practices leading up to the game.

    (This answer provided for NATA by the Appalachian State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
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    Built into the culture of running is the idea than leaner and lighter is better. And, in fact, this is supported by the idea that moving a lighter object requires less energy than moving a heavier one. That said, many runners sabotage their training by under-eating and become fatigued and injured. Eating the right amount is critical to healthy and progressive running performance. If you are serious about running, you might want to consult a registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition to develop a tailored nutrition plan for your goals.
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    Fads and crash diets are very enticing to cheerleaders who have real or perceived physique pressures from within the sport and the fans. It is very important to your sport and your health that you eat balanced, nutrient dense meals and take in adequate fluids.