Whether you’re a professional athlete or frequently participate in group sports, active individuals need to take the proper steps in their nutrition to make sure they are eating right. Learn what you should include in your daily diet to make sure your nutritional habits make the cut and keep you at the top of your game.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro athlete on the baseball diamond, football field or if you’re a regular Joe who plays for the company softball team or local basketball team - nutrition is an important aspect and without it, you won’t get far in your physical activities. Probably one of the most important nutritional steps to follow for athletes is having the right meal before game time. In order to get the most energy for your game and to prevent stomachaches, it is essential to have a meal at least three to four hours before you participate in sports. This meal should contain a lot of starch in the form of complex carbohydrates, such as cold cereal, fruits, vegetables, pastas, and breads. Starches break down easier than protein and fats, which allow your body to have enough energy while emptying your stomach’s contents within two to three hours.
Your pre-game meals should not include a lot of fats, since they take longer to digest. The same goes for fiber. Also stay away from too much sugar beforehand. While the sugar high appears to get you off to a great start, the rise in blood sugar will quickly fall, resulting in a sugar crash. You’ll feel worn out and zapped of energy. Never go for a “quick fix.” Try to avoid eating carbs one and a half to two hours before a game, since this can lead to exhaustion early on. Keep yourself properly hydrated by sticking to fluids before, during and after your game. Regular water is best. The beverages to stay away from before physical activity include: soft drinks, coffee and tea. These drinks have been shown to increase the chances for dehydration and increasing the need to use the bathroom.
In your regular daily diet, include a lot of carbohydrates, which will give you the energy needed to start and finish your game. Smart athletes eat a variety of healthy foods while training properly. Depending on how hard you train or exercise, your body may need more protein than usual. To ensure you get all of the vitamins and minerals needed each day, take a daily multivitamin. In general, athletes need more minerals, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and phytonutrients than the average person. Because of these special demands, it is vital that athletes understand what their bodies need and how to meet those expectations on a daily basis.
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