Nutrition Basics for Athletes

You probably already know that your performance depends a lot on how you fuel your body. Especially if youre trying to trim seconds off your time, or grams off your weight, nutrition is key. Here I’ve laid out some simple tips to remember when choosing your pre and post workout meals. This is a very rough guideline (if you can even call it that). However, more nutrition plans with specific goals will be added later, and I am always open to suggestions. For now, let’s get started with a few macronutrient basics.

Carbohydrates: These are our bodies’ main source of fuel, and are mainly made up of sugars and starches. Pre-workout, its helpful to stock up on starches like pasta, bread and starchy veggies (potatoes,corn,etc.); as well as sugars naturally found in fruit. Do this for a few days, but avoid carbs for a few hours before starting a strenuous workout. During a workout, keep energy supply stocked with sports gels, protein bars, or fruit.  Post-workout, replenish lost carbs with a healthy choice like some carrots or a bagel.

Proteins: These help your muscles to rebuild during and after a strenuous workout. Pre-workout/During: There’s plenty of ways to get protein. On average, a training athlete weighing between 150-200 lbs would need about 100-150grams of protein per day. Post-workout, milk can be great once you have settled because it is fairly balanced with carbs and proteins, boosting your utilization of both.

Fats: Pre/During/Post: Fats are basically just a backup for carbs. So if youre good on carbs, youre only bogging down your system with extra fat. You’re most likely going to provide yourself plenty of saturated fats naturally through some foods. There’s nothing in fat you can’t get somewhere else in your diet. So cut them down, or ideally, cut them out. Also, avoid trans fats completely. They’re seriously detrimental to your health, and the most common oil they come from isn’t even “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration.

Fiber: Pre/During/Post: Although humans don’t receive any nutrition from most fiber, what the fiber does provide is a chance to detox. Imagine fiber like little brooms for your GI tract. By helping reduce waste and toxicity in the body, an overall health gain is achieved.

Water: Pre/During/Post: Our bodies are made about 70% out of water, and strenuous activities almost always cause us to lose fluids. I really don’t think I need to explain this one. Most of us don’t get enough water when we ARENT excercising. So even if you arent thirsty, make sure you drink.

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