The food we eat provides us with essential nutrients that are vital for our wellbeing and help our cells regenerate and grow. Plus, food supplies us with energy which helps us last throughout the day. However, this goes for healthy food only – the western diet involves too much processed and junk food which not only is unhealthy for us, it can be outright dangerous as well.
Considering your own nutritional needs and approaches prior to during and after a workout is highly important if you want to succeed losing weight and building your muscles. An athlete’s health requires special diet and a proper lifestyle, and the food they eat has a great impact on their athletic performance and stamina as well. This is especially true for younger people who are still in a developing stage.
However, every individual has their own needs when it comes to food. The body fat percentage, muscle mass, the level of intra and extracellular fluid, the level of total fat and your own metabolism are some factors which should be taken into considereation when preparing a diet plan. Athletes have the same goal – to constantly get better, and besides the hard work, their food is another imposing factor on their results.
When preparing your meal plan if you’re an athlete, you need to follow some guidelines. First, the type of food corelates with the sport. The intensity and manner in which it is performed is important as well, just as much as the state in which the person is in (active or quiet.
Secondly, you also need to count on proper water and sodium intake, as they lose much of these nutrients during their workouts. This can cause a buildup of metabolic byproducts such as lactic acid in the muscles, which can lead to lower ability.
Next, you need to have plan on a healthy breakfast. Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, and needs to be rich and nutritious. When it comes to the best time for breakfast, scientists have found out that its 2 hours after getting up from bed. The first meal of the day aims to stop muscle catabolism, as the body wastes energy while you’re sleeping. This means that carbs for breakfast is a great idea, as it is strongly advised to not deprive your body of energy. Focus on complex carbs, healthy fats and high-quality proteins for breakfast.
If you’re an athlete, there’s also the question of what to eat prior and after a workout. The pre-workout meal needs to be energetic, but shouldn’t hinder your digestion, so no heavy meals for you before the training. It’s best to eat an hour and a half or two before a workout in order to fill your body with enough energy to perform well. You need to have a high-carb meal that has a low glycemic index which won’t spike up your sugar levels. Furthermore, any kind of food you’re eating should be consumed with vegetables.
Don’t add too much protein and healthy fats in your pre-workout meal, as they can slow down your digestion. For the post-workout meal, experts say that it should replace your glycogen storage that was depleted during the workout. This meal should be separated into two portions eaten at a different time. The first portion should include carbs in the form of fruits, while the second should be a complete meal with a salad and healthy fats.
For dinner, you should replace your depleted protein levels with an amino-acid-rich meal that will fill your muscles. Don’t eat carbs for dinner, as they are stored as fat at the end of the day. No matter if you train recreationally or professionally, experts recommend having a good meal plan in place if you want to succeed.