Even if an athlete works hard during the training, uses technology to work properly and listens to the best coaches they know, they still might not perform as good as possible. It's a wide known fact - if an athlete wants to improve their performance, they also have to improve their diet. Sports nutrition is not as complicated as one might think. Although there are different guidelines for athletes involved in different disciplines, there are also a few rules to follow for everybody.
Protein intake matters
Protein is what builds muscles and repairs damaged tissues after the training. Sportspeople know that and they incorporate protein into their daily diet - but do they think about when to intake it or in what form? Even if they get the right amount of protein, it's still important to do it at the right time - preferably after workout, but truth is that protein should be involved in every meal that athlete eats. If an athlete doesn't have time to cook meal after the training, it's good to at least take a portion of protein powder.
There is no such thing as "bad food"
The food is only bad if it's rotten or out of date. As much as healthy, well balanced diet is crucial for the athlete, it's good to loosen up a little from time to time and eat a burger or a piece of chocolate. It may not provide as much fiber or vitamins as lean meat served along with brown rice and broccoli, but it will actually make you feel better, mentally - unstoppable battle with cravings is never good and eventually it leads to dropping out of diet. While a pile of cookies eaten frequently is bad for every person, not only an athlete, a cookie eaten at a family reunion is totally fine.
Hydration is the key to healthy life
Combining good food together is an every day routine for many people. Unfortunately, they still forget about proper hydration, which is crucial for one's health. Even minor deficiency of water is bad for organism and it certainly has an effect on one's performance, especially if it takes a long time. You cannot drink just anything - plain water guarantees the best possible hydration. If it's mineral water, it also provides necessary minerals like magnesium, potassium or calcium.
Food can trigger or lower inflammation in your body
Sports nutrition has an actual influence on how fast your body recovers. What you put on your plate may either speed your recovery up or slow it down. Sure, carbohydrates will give you back your energy, protein will rebuild damaged tissues, but it's not the end of the case. There's a long list of foods that can cause inflammation: red meat, processed food, trans fats, everything that contains lots of sugar. But there's also a long list of foods that work anti-inflammatory: green vegetables, tomatoes, fatty fish, nuts and berries.
Carbs are good for you
There's a myth going around the world that carbohydrates are something you need to avoid if you want to stay fit. We say - if you want to stay fit, you should put good amount of carbohydrates into your diet. This statement has to be more clear, though: reach for non-processed carbohydrates, high in fiber, wholemeal carbohydrates. These will fuel your body, give you energy and help your digestion, which is crucial for nutrition in general.
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