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It is not a secret anymore that you can boost your performance with the right food. But what does it mean eating healthy as a sports professional? Do you need to follow different rules than people who just work out 2-3 times per week? Whether you want a greater energy level or if you’re looking to adopt a healthy diet in order to decrease the risk of injuries, I’ve got your covered. Below you can read 5 rules about eating for sports professionals.
Eat the rainbow
Colorful food not only looks good, it also contains many different nutrients. Try to eat as varied as possible by choosing fruits and veggies of different colors. Then it is easy for you to enjoy all important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Tipp: Everytime you go for groceries, choose one new fruit or vegetable to try.
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5 a day
The German Society for Nutrition recommends five portions of vegetables and fruit a day, three as vegetables, two as fruit. One portion is one handful. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of minerals, vitamins, natural fiber and other compounds that your body needs to perform as its best.
Tipp: Try to eat fruit and/or vegetables at each meal. Both are low in calories and contain plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Combine carbohydrates with proteins
Carbohydrates are an important part of sports nutrition. They should make up a good 55-60 percent of the diet and are your main source of energy. Many of us however rely on simple carbs, as in sweets or processed foods. Instead, you should focus more on vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Further in order to supply the muscles with sufficient new energy, you should also eat enough protein. Proteins are needed to help your body grow and repair. Depending on your activity intensity you need 1,2 to 2,0 g protein per day for every kilogram of body weight.
Tipp: In order to get the most out of carbohydrates and proteins, try to combine them in one meal. Tasty and healthy combinations are, for example, beans and corn or egg and potatoes.
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Eat the healthy fats
That is not the part I tell you that fast food is prohibited. However it is about the right amount. Try to eat more food with unsaturated fats (e.g. nuts, avocados, olives) in order to get essential fatty acids and energy that keeps you moving.
Tip: Try not to eat fatty food right before your training or competition. Fat is heavy to digest and hence will hinder your body to spend your energy on your performance.
Drink, drink, drink
The body consists of 60 percent water. During training or competition, mostly a lot of fluid is sweated out – this must be returned to the body as quickly as possible. Try to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day. On match and training days, drink correspondingly more, which means 1.5 litres of fluid per kg of body weight loss.
Tip: Weigh yourself before and after your training. The difference is the loss of fluid, provided you have not eaten or drunk anything during exercise.