Eating Healthy for Athletes
a healthy diet is of the utmost importance.
Whether you're a sportsman or a sportswoman, eating healthily is the key to doing well in your training.
Moreover, there is scientific evidence that suggests people who are just getting into shape after a period of relative inactivity require more of the essential nutrients and elements, like protein, than other people, including serious athletes.
So what is good nutrition for a sporty lifestyle? If you are exercising you are going to use more calories, so someone who is not overweight should be
consuming more than they do when not keeping fit.
A rough guide is that you need eight and a half Calories per kilogram of weight per hour. So if you weigh in at 220 pounds (100 kilograms) you would use 850 Calories during an hour of exercise.
It is almost never wise to cut back on your dietary consumption at the same time as embarking on a regular exercise program. If you are considering this, be sure to consult your doctor first. At any rate, an athlete in training should never try to lose more than 2 or 3 pounds each week, at most.
Most studies agree that the most important thing when training, and when cutting back your food intake, is to maintain a balanced diet. This is the same for athletes as for the general public.
A balanced diet means that you should get the majority of your calorie intake from carbohydrates coming from pasta, rice, bread and so on. Carbs should make up about 57% of your diet. Fats should comprise 30% of your intake.
I don't mean fats like candy bars--I mean good, unsaturated fats like olive oil, fats from fish, fats from avocadoes, and so on. Saturated fats, like butter and shortening, should be avoided in any healthy diet.
Finally there is the protein group which should make up the remaining 13% of your diet. Protein is found in fish, meat, nuts and pulses, and is essential to make the athletic body function well.
In practice, eating well means
consuming only small amounts of fried foods, chocolates and biscuits as very occasional snacks, drinking alcohol in moderation, and eating lots of fruit, vegetables and
whole meal foods, along with fish, pulses and meat in smaller quantities.
The advice given to the general public on healthy eating applies to athletes too! Remember, exercise expends lots of energy and uses up important nutrients. Athletes should be sure they are eating enough to stay healthy and strong, and to ensure that they have all the vitamins and minerals their bodies need.
There are, however, a huge number of supplements currently available. Most of them have not been scientifically proven to work. Still, some athletes--such as marathon runners and others in endurance sports-- may require iron supplements.
This tends to be the case with women more so than men, but you can get tested if you suspect you need more iron. Consulting a good nutritionist may be a smart idea, too. And if you're hitting the road, consider supplementing, as travel food is rarely healthy.
Finally, a note on sports drinks and sports bars. These common items are very popular, in part because they're so jam-packed with nutrients and are so convenient. But be careful: they're full of calories.
Also, be sure to give yourself a few hours between eating and working out, so you have a chance to digest properly and let your body absorb the essential nutrients.
Nutritionist Ann Sertanze provides expert help through RHS Nutrition, a specialist website offering nutritional advice for people of all ages.
author of Athletes Healthy Eating is Ann Sertanze
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Article Athletes Healthy Eating was submitted by
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