Athletes can prepare their bodies for competition through proper nutrition. The resources provided here offer information on the importance of breakfast, sports nutritional products, nutritional guidelines and more.
Athlete Eating Guidelines
A proper eating program is just as important to an elite athlete's success as is a training program. Think of your body as a car, and food and drink as the fuel. Elite athletes are like finely tuned cars that require high-quality fuel to achieve optimal performance. Putting low-quality fuel into your body can lead to compromised health and decreased performance.
Making healthy choices is a key to long-term health and optimal athletic performance. By following some basic sports nutrition principles, you can positively influence your ability to make gains both on the field and in the weight room.
Importance of Breakfast
Breakfast is important for performance and health. It is an early-morning refueling stop for your body. After 8-12 hours without a meal or snack, your body needs to be replenished with fuel and fluid.
Food fuels the body with energy. If you expend more energy, you need more fuel. The athlete needs high-performance foods. These high-performance nutrients for baseball players include the right mix of fluids, carbohydrates and proteins.
The pre-game meal is an integral part of the complete training plan. Of course, a single pre-game meal will not compensate for a poor training diet.
One of the most important times for elite athletes to eat is immediately after a training session because the body is depleted of key nutrients, specifically carbohydrates.
Sports Nutritional Products
Athletes should rely mostly on real food to supply their energy needs throughout the day. Sports nutrition products such as sports drinks, energy bars and gels have been designed to supplement an athlete's eating program pre-, during and post-training and not be a replacement or a substitute for food.
Similar to vitamins, minerals also assist in many body processes and are crucial in muscle contractions, energy expenditure and immune function.
Any athlete, regardless of sport, intensity of training, gender, or age can successfully choose a vegetarian diet without risking nutrient shortages or deficiencies. However, such a lifestyle choice will require careful planning to maintain adequate energy for training and to reduce the risk of associated vitamin and mineral deficiencies.