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Nutrition for Athletes

Arranged Vegetables Abs are made in the kitchen, right? There are ongoing statistics about how much of one’s appearance and athletic performance is based on diet versus exercise or training. What is concrete is the fact that quality of fuel in is going to reflect in the quality of structure built and the performance of that structure.  If you buy the cheapest fuel for your boat, chances are the gas efficiency and the performance of the engine will be less than that of premium fuel. This is an essential concept when talking about nutrition for athletes.

 

The problem in the US today is that most people don’t eat real food. Too much of our diets consist of processed or refined food product. The typical diet is full of convenience items, loaded with fast food and on-the-go treats. While some of these things help to make life easier, our bodies internally pay the price. We become overworked and toxic, taking away from our performance in other areas, like muscular strength or endurance.

Sometimes it takes going back in time and thinking more primal to understand what our bodies were designed to eat. The idea is to follow the menu choices of a caveman. Cavemen were hunters and gatherers. Their bodies evolved to be ready at a moments notice to chase down the next meal, because food wasn’t always available. They were mentally challenged to plan their ways of attack and other motives for survival. They survived on meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts. This becomes the basis of nutrition for athletes:

1. Lean Meats/Fish

2. Eggs

3. Vegetables

4. Fruits

5. Nuts

6. Healthy Oils

 

The benefits are vast. The higher protein intake allows for proper muscle growth and maintenance, the fiber is high to ensure intestinal health, and the omega-3 to 6 ratio is ideal for prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Real, whole foods offer a higher amount of vitamins and minerals and keeps the body alkaline, which wards off kidney disease and muscle loss.  Hydration needs to be a main focus as water plays a part in every physiological process. As athletes, it is important to consume enough calories depending on your activity level. Plan ahead by making meals and snacks that are easy for on the go
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Supplementation for Athletes

Everyone knows the easiest way to get essential nutrients into our bodies is from what we eat and drink. So what if what’s in our diet just isn’t enough? Gaps in the diet happen. Travel, stress, and excessive exercise all can deplete our bodies and if they aren’t properly refueled can lead to slower recovery time, decreased resistance to sickness, fatigue, and overall decline in general health. Supplementation can bridge those gaps.

As athletes, our bodies take a beating from the constant rebuilding of our muscles. To properly rebuild that muscle, however, you must have the essential building blocks or nutrients to make healthy tissue. Making sure we have all those building blocks available is what leads to faster recovery time, vivacity, and strong , healthy tissues.

Supplements come in a variety of shapes and forms. It is essential to purchase your supplements from a trusted source to ensure you are really getting whats in the bottle. Whole food supplements are typically the best choice, making the nutrient the most bio-available and ready to utilize in the body. The common misconception, however, is the lack of “nutrition facts” on the side of whole food supplements. Instead of saing 100%  DV of Vitamin C, it will read buckwheat, beet juice and carrot root. Move your view from reading percentages and think about eating real food. When you eat an orange, you know there is vitamin C inside, but there is no label telling you so. In this post, I will try and guide you in the right direction for choosing the right supplements and ingredients for your needs.

Multivitamin: Multivitamins are important to enhance the diet and ensure nutrients are ready and available to be utilized in the body. The multivitamin doesn’t need to contain 100% of all the daily values, but aim for one that contains both vitamins and minerals. Again, whole food supplements are the best and may need to be taken a few times per day to be absorbed at the best potential. Look for ingredients like beet root, beet juice, buckwheat, carrot root, calcium lactate, magnesium citrate, oat flour, and alfalfa. These ingredients yield a high value of usable vitamins and minerals.

Whey Protein:  Proteins are the building blocks of our DNA, cells, and tissues. Proteins are also essential to the way these cells and tissues function. Adding whey protein into the diet, whether as a recovery drink, meal, or just daily nutrition, is an easy way to support the body as well as satisfy hunger. Protein will sustain hunger longer which can contribute to weight control.

Joint Support:  Glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM are the big three that come in joint support formulas. They have been shown to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis and help control symptoms.  Also look for supplements containing Boswellia, Tumeric, Ginger and Bromelain. These last four ingredients contribute an anti-inflammatory effect as well as an analgesic effect, helping to reduce joint pain.

Omega-3s/EPA/DHA:  Omega-3s are important to help maintain cardiovascular health. Omega-3s reduce inflammation, reduce rates of heart disease, and increase blood flow. These can be found in supplements like fish oil, crill oil, and flax seed oil.

Water: No, water isn’t exactly a supplement. But, it should be consumed everyday in large quantities. Water makes up 70% of the body so there needs to be plenty of it available to replenish the tissues. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and discs all can become dehydrated, lose elasticity, and become more prone to injury. Its easy, and its free!

Like what was said earlier, the best way to get the proper nutrients is through eating whole foods, but if your diet isn’t enough, these go-to supplements are the way to go to make sure you’re getting what you need as an athlete!

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