Nutrition for athletes can be broken down into five main areas:
- Often an overlooked or undervalued aspect of training.
- Key to a good performance.
- Avoids quicker fatigue and increased chance of injury.
- Aim to drink two to three litres of water a day.
- Isotope and electrolyte drinks and gels can be useful during long, extended exercise.
Good sources of protein:
- Lean meat cuts.
- Beans (particularly black beans).
- Tofu and tempeh.
- Endurance athletes should aim to get 15-20% of their calorie intake from protein.
- Those looking to put on more muscle should aim for 25-30%.
Healthy starchy carb sources:
- Sweet potatoes.
- Brown rice.
- White potatoes.
- For whole fruit and vegetables eat as many and as much variety as possible.
- Endurance athletes should aim to get 55-70% of calories from carbohydrates.
- Those looking to gain muscle should aim for 40-50%.
- Glycaemic index is a good way of gauging when to eat certain carbs at the right times.
- A high GI value means a greater blood sugar response when consumed.
- A lower GI value means a lower blood sugar response when consumed.
- Low GI foods before exercise can provide you with sustained release carbohydrates.
- Moderate to high GI foods during prolonged, intense exercise provide fast acting fuel.
- High GI foods are great for post workout recovery.
- Check http://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php to search specific foods GI index.
Healthy Fat Sources:
- Oily fish (like salmon and tuna).
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Endurance athletes should aim to get 20-35% of their calories from healthy fats.
- Those aiming to gain more muscle should aim for 20-30%.
- Eat fatty foods in moderation.
- Opt for healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats.
Multivitamins should include:
- Vitamins C, A, E, K and D.
- Thiamine, Riboflavin, B6, Folic Acid (The B vitamins).
Top supplements for athletes:
- BCAAs (Branch chain amino acids), the building blocks of protein.
- Glutamine is another amino acid used in protein synthesis with potential benefits to the gut and immune system.
- Whey protein, the go to supplement for post-workout recovery on the go.
- Casein protein is a slow-release protein that is also found in Greek yoghurt and cottage cheese.
- Fish oils have many benefits such as inflammation reduction and vitamin D intake.
- CBD oil has proven anti-inflammatory properties, particularly in the brain, which is beneficial for high-impact sport.
- Creatine Monohydrate increases muscle endurance during exercise, but may cause problems in weight-dependent sport (such as wrestling or boxing) due the muscle gain it causes.