Athletes are known to exercise for more extended periods and do strenuous exercises for durations exceeding 90 minutes. This calls for high rates of endurance and hence the need for a diet that can help them perform at their peak to deliver the best results and recover quickly after the task they were handling. Discussed below are some of the best dietary plans every athlete should embrace in their day-to-day life to maintain a successful career.
Proper load up on Carbohydrates
Carbs are termed as an athlete’s primary fuel. The body changes these carbohydrates into glucose which is a form of sugar, and they are then stored in the muscles for later use as glycogen. Whenever you do some exercise or a tedious task, your body stores glycogen into energy. When you do some exercise for 90 minutes, your body has that readily available energy. Still, just in case you exceed this duration, you should embrace the use of the strategies explained below:
- Eat a diet that contains not less than 70% of its calories from carbohydrates, with perfect examples being cereals, bread, fruits, pasta, and vegetables to ensure you achieve maximum carbohydrate storage.
- On the last day of your great sport, it is very much advisable that you have your previous meal like 3 to 4 hours before exercising to give your body enough time to empty the stomach.
- You should also avoid eating any starchy or sugary foods at least 30 minutes before your exercise because these foods speed up the rate of dehydration.
- You should constantly replenish your minerals, carbs, and water intake during long sessions of exercises or games. It would help if you drank fluids in intervals of 15 to 20 minutes. Many athletes choose to use gels, sports bars, and drinks due to their convenience, but fruits and fruit juices can also make excellent choices.
- It is also essential to reload the levels of carbohydrates after the intensive exercise sessions. Since you do not need quick energy sources, it is best to use less refined forms or types of carbohydrates.
Ensure you get enough Proteins but not too much
Proteins do not provide too much energy to your body, but they play a vital role in maintaining the turgor of your muscles. Below are considerations you should always make in your protein intake.
Know the quantities you need
An average sportsperson needs 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day; in more straightforward terms, that is about 88 grams of protein for a person who weighs around 150 pounds. For the sake of strenuous exercises, an athlete may need approximately 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight which is about 150 grams for a person weight anywhere between 150 to 200 pounds.
Choose the best sources of protein.
Too much intake of proteins is not healthy for your kidneys. So instead of using protein supplements, you can always go for foods with high protein quality, such as fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs, and milk.
Use proteins in the form of drink-ups.
Milk is known to be one of the best foods for recovery after a strenuous event. This is because it provides a good protein balance and carbohydrates. Milk also contains casein and whey proteins; hence it’s the best exercise recovery drink. The casein in milk is digested at a lower rate aiding in ensuring a long-term recovery of muscle after being involved in a grueling activity. Milk also has calcium as an essential nutrient used in the maintenance of healthy bones.
Always go easy on fat.
For long and strenuous activities such as marathons, the body turns the stored fats into energy when the sources of carbohydrates have run low. All athletes should get the fat they need for such activities from a basic dietary guideline of eating mostly the unsaturated forms of fat from sources such as nuts, avocadoes, fatty fish, vegetables, and olive oil. You should also avoid foods rich in fats on the day of your game or event because, at times, they upset your stomach.
Frequent intake of drinks
Long durations of intense exercises, especially in hot weather, can leave you dehydrated. Dehydration can greatly affect your performance and even threaten your life. This makes it vital for all high-intensity athletes to drink fluids early and often before their activities. It would be best if you never waited until that moment you feel thirsty. One of the best ways to monitor if your body is well hydrated is keeping a close eye on the color of your urine. A pale-yellow color on the urine is an indication that you are well hydrated. Observation of dark or bright yellow urine is an indication that you are falling short. For the sake of endurance athletes, you should take water in intervals of 10 to 15 minutes as you continue with your event. When possible, always drink chilled fluids because these are easily absorbed better at room temperature. The chilled fluids also play a role in cooling your body.
Always replace the lost electrolytes.
Sweating during strenuous exercises removes both fluids and electrolytes from your body. The electrolytes help your body during the transmission of nerve signals or impulses. The best way to replenish the lost fluids is by intake of soft drinks. When you sweat in the process or event of your activity, it is always good to dilute some sports drinks with equal amounts of water for you to get the best balance of fluid to replace the lost water and electrolytes.
Ill health is the worst nightmare for any athlete because it is a risk to their career. To ensure that you maintain proper health and the best tone of your muscles, it is always good to observe healthy eating methods. Just in case you are unsure what to use, always ask your instructor to give you a well-entailed list of dos and don’ts in your diet.