If you are an athlete, you aim for the top, naturally. It is the most basic human instinct to shoot for the stars, knowing well it is not a cakewalk to shine among them. But some do shine, and we, also want to be among those chosen few. That’s why we train harder, day-in-and-day-out, and try not to stop till the goal is achieved. While training is the most important factor in any athlete’s capability to secure the gold in the Olympics, there’s one more factor they can do it so effortlessly, and that’s their food habits. All the elite athletes in the world put equal focus on what they eat and how they eat it. That’s why diet plans are so important if you aim to become a pro. Also, you must know that diet plans can vary for each person. So, if something does not suit you, change it as per your needs. Incorporate what fits best in your training program and stick to it. Here’s how you can set up a perfect diet plan if you’re into heavy physical training or sports.
Diet Meal before Morning Run & Post-workout Breakfast for Athletes
Many athletes make the mistake of hitting the road for running with an empty belly. Nutrition programmers say it’s important to consume carb-heavy foods such as bagel or toast to raise the sugar level, which goes down after hours of sleep. Aren’t you fond of eating early in the morning? Start with something small such as a glass of juice or having a toast. You can also mix different proteins like yogurt, cream cheese, and peanut butter. You can also have fruits like bananas or apples or pain almonds before officially beginning your morning routine. Eating before the early morning workout will get the engine of your body going. In essence, don’t miss out on pre-workout food.
For the post-workout breakfast, go for whole-grain foods. Include whole wheat bread in your diet plan. Oatmeals are also the best options; they are quite healthy. Boost your breakfast regimen by including low-fat dairy items like milk or yogurt in it. You can also go for lean meat such as pork, beef, veal, lamb, and kangaroo meat to make sure enough protein is consumed during breakfast. Fruits are also a good option as they provide vitamins and are known as antioxidants.
How Important are Carbohydrates In Athletes’ diet plan?
Carbs are the single biggest source of energy for athletes. All those into heavy training and deep workout regimen must plan heavy doses of carbs in their diet plan. Research has also shown that carbohydrates are an important source of calories in your body, which enhance endurance while training. As per an expert review by Nutrition Today, carbs are still the most important source for high-intensity performance. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for the years 2015-2020 also suggest that high-intensity athletes should aim for a higher intake of carbs in their diet. Rice, whole grains (brown rice and quinoa), potatoes and even pasta are prominent sources of rich carbs, which are necessary for every athlete.
The Protein Diet Plan For Athletes
Carbs alone won’t do the magic — proteins are equally important for top-class performance. So plan your protein intake accordingly. As soon as we finish our exercises or training, our body needs a constant protein source to repair the damaged muscles. This process also leads to the growth of muscle fibers. So, if you are aiming for those giant muscles or biceps, keep the protein intake high. Include lean meats, eggs, soy, and dairy products in your diet. Keep a balanced flow of protein intake during your daily training routine. Experts suggest 0.55-0.75 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is essential to achieve the best physical goals.
Importance of Fats for Athletes
Don’t believe the naysayers! Fats are a crucial source of energy for our body’s overall growth. As an athlete, you have to maintain a balance while consuming fats. Don’t go overboard as eating a lot of it can actually slow down the training process. With a belly full of fat foods, you may feel lethargic to train. They are essential for healthy skin and hair texture. They also contribute to the growth of your brain cells. Also, avoid having fatty foods before the game. Red meat, whole-fat dairy products, butter, cheese, avocado, and chocolates are rich in fats.
Time to Incorporate Healthy Lunch Habits
Your launch can be divided into two parts — a small portion before your training and the rest afterward. This will ensure you get adequate energy to perform while training and also for the post-training recovery process. Your lunch includes general items like veggies, eggs, fruits, nuts, salads, or soups. You can also go for more traditional items like rice and lentils or Indian curry. Fatty meats can also be part of your lunch. Fast foods are a big no-no! They don’t add value to your physical stamina due to the excess of salts and saturated fats. For dinner, keep protein foods on the higher side. Green leafy veggies are also good at dinner. Thankfully, dinner is the time when you can load up a bit, provided it’s taken early. Pasta, potatoes, meat foods, quinoa, among other foods, can also be consumed during dinner.
The Bottom Line: Stay Organic
It’s the most important factor in any athlete’s physical stamina. Eating clean food and staying hydrated is crucial to stay at the top of your game. Ask any top-class athlete, and you’ll find these diet plans on top of their health agenda. Eggs, veggies, pasta, salmon, butter, fruits, foods rich in proteins, shakes, chicken, and meat are some key foods that should surely be included in your food plan. Stay away from junk food as much as possible. They’ll slow the training process by affecting your body. Sugary and fried foods should also be avoided at all costs. If we can follow these healthy food habits, nothing can stop us from gaining the best body or winning the biggest championships in the world.