How To Eat Like An Athlete

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Apurva Sethi
Apurva is a fashion and food enthusiast. She chose fashion as her career and food as her passion. She is greatly fond of trying out new cuisines at different places and making them at home, in her own style. She also loves to seek and learn new things about the food industry constantly. So, here she is, to share her easy-peasy ways of cooking.

High-performance athletes are known as the nutrition kings when it comes to gaining an advantage over the competition. Read on to find out how you can eat like a professional athlete and perform better in everyday life. 

How Does An Athletes Diet Vary

Professional athletes consume balanced meals and calculate their nutrient intake at key moments of the day. 

To take your sport to the next level, you have to eat like an athlete every day. Every athlete is different, so what you eat must fit your sport, workout plan, and lifestyle, which means it can change every day. 

For example, endurance athletes such as cyclists and marathon runners have different nutritional needs than strength athletes. 

According to Sarah Keogh, a nutritionist at the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute, what an athlete needs to eat depends on the type of athlete they are. It is important to point out that just because one considers food as fuel does not mean that one should eat solely to satisfy one’s basic physical needs. 

High-protein diets have been a popular trend over the past few years as more and more people take up weightlifting as part of their exercise regime. But this doesn’t automatically equate to an optimal diet for everyone. In reality, the diet is the exact opposite for most elite endurance athletes. And who to say which group of athletes is a quote on quote ‘healthier’. 

While many ultra-runners opt for a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet and veganism, the majority of endurance athletes eat a high-carbohydrate, low-protein, and low-fat diet. 

This is the top-secret Athlete’s diet, says Matt Fitzgerald, the author of the Endurance Diet. “When I studied the diets of endurance athletes around the world, from America to Switzerland, from Kenya to Brazil, I concluded that there was an overarching pattern of what everyone ate and how they ate.” The goal was a diet that consisted of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, but in moderation, so that it was a whole food that could be eaten healthily in most cases. 

One must understand the idea that eating is not just a way to pass the time. Eating like an athlete means eating to feel most comfortable, to fuel your training, and see food as an ally, not an enemy. 

If you want to increase your strength, fitness, performance, and stamina, nutrition is important, but 95 percent of people who exercise don’t follow a nutritional plan. 

When you eat like an athlete, you have to think about how every bite you take gives your body the fuel it needs to function. 

Sam Watson, rowing machine specialist, and nutritionist says Nutrition is important for everybody, not just as a professional athlete. An athlete’s body is indeed exposed to high levels of stress, (which is why proper nutrition is so important) but the diet actually should not differ too much from that of a normal person. 

That means eating many carbohydrates because we need to make sure we have glycogen after training to satiate and protein to rest and recharge. I try to minimize the added sugar intake for both health and athletic performance. 

What Kind of Foods Should You Eat

Choose high-energy foods such as whole grains, crackers, low-fat cheeses, tortilla wraps, vegetables, lean meats, hard-boiled eggs, vegetables, beans, soup, small boxes of non-sugary cereals, fresh fruit, mini whole-grain bagels, peanut butter flatbread, hummus, pasta, and grilled chicken. 

Choose wholegrain carbohydrate sources such as wholegrain bread, pasta, and fiber-rich cereals as powerful energy sources. Nuts, butter, and eggs on toast for breakfast, beans and lentils for lunch, and meat for dinner. 

If you’re looking for a simple solution that doesn’t involve cooking, you can eat like an athlete with a macro-aligned meal triangle. That means adding more protein to breakfasts and the low-protein meals that many people skip for dinner. 

You can also try following a meal plan, trying it out for a few weeks, or setting up your own diet plan regularly according to your workout plan and requirements. 

It’s unlikely you’ll be training like an Olympic athlete 6 hours a day, but you can use dieting and exercise to improve your own health and wellbeing. 

Depending on physical activity, whole grains should be consumed in quantities equivalent to one or two fist-sized meals before exercise. 

A good diet starts with the combination of the above-mentioned food groups with the above-mentioned amounts. The five main food groups – fruit, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy products – should make up about half of the plate at 50% of meals. 

The amount of energy contained in a particular food depends on the content of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) in the diet. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereals, bread, and pasta. Compared to carbohydrates and protein, your body has an unlimited capacity to store fat as reserved energy. Take all this into consideration when approaching a diet plan. 

Final Thoughts

There are hundreds of different sports and fitness types, and there are many types of athletic diets. There are also dietary habits and attitudes that separate athletes from the general public. Work on incorporating this into your lifestyle and change your relationship with food and your body. We have learned a lot from the habits of elite athletes and the benefits of a good diet and how you can apply their approach to food in your own lives. 

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