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It should be the goal of every athlete to perform at an optimum level while maintaining supreme health. To do this requires having a well-planned daily nutritional strategy. Actively participate in your recovery and aid your own performance with these diet guidelines.
These provide the building blocks you need to develop and support muscle growth. Without protein, you simply cannot build muscle tissue. With every meal, you need to include at least one portion of protein. (Read Protein and Your Diet.)
Although social pressure may push you to think the contrary, athletes need fats in their diets. Fats help give you energy. However, eating too much fat, particularly the saturated kind, can lead to serious health problems. Deep fried foods should rarely be found in an athlete's diet. Serious athletes consume only unsaturated fats.
This is another class of nutrients tainted by popular opinion. Your body needs carbohydrates, mainly to provide you with energy. But foods like cookies, juice, soda, chips, snack foods, fast foods and baked goods do not deliver good carbs. The closer to homemade with any food item, the better it is for you. Choose whole grain cereals, breads, brown rice, Greek yogurt and whole-wheat pastas.
Try not to eat foods high in fat or fiber, because they may cause stomach upset. Prior to competition, your body craves carbohydrates for energy. Fruits and whole grain bread with natural peanut butter are great snacks to consume 30 to 60 minutes before activity.
Restore energy with fruit, yogurt, whole grain cereal or whole grain crackers with cheese and at least 24 ounces of fluid.
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