What Should Athletes Eat-Healthy Diet Menu For Athletes

Athletes and active sports enthusiasts require properly balanced and nutrition rich menus. Any healthy diet menu for athletes includes all of the basic food groups in a very definitive balance to support their athletic body in the pursuit, achievement and maintenance of peak performance.

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No healthy diet is set in stone and there is a certain flexibility in the amounts and proportions of the required food groups depending on the main activity and training focus.

Athletes that are focused mainly on endurance require slightly different set of nutrients than those who are looking for maximum  muscle gain.

A diet for an endurance runner would focus more on including larger amounts of healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread pasta, steamed vegetables etc. to give them  sustained energy.

Athletes looking for muscle gain would eat more protein, especially fish, to help gain healthy muscle. Please realize that there are differing opinions on how much protein is too much. Excessive protein can be counterproductive in other functions of your body. The key is not to eat protein to the exlusion of everything else.

Healthy Diet Menu Is Necessary For Peak Athletic Performance

Always make sure that you include all food groups. Balanced diet means that you don’t neglect any food group completely. Your body will not function properly on just carbohydrates nor will it function properly on just proteins no matter what kind of athlete you are. What we are saying is that the emphasis can be different but nothing can be left out.

Athlete diet menu Examples

One Day Menu Example For Athletic Endurance

Breakfast:

Oatmeal with Nuts and Berries

Snack:

Protein Shake

Lunch:

Brown Rice with Chicken or Fish

Snack: Nuts

Dinner:

Fresh or Steamed Vegetables, Meat, Pasta

One Day Menu Example For Athletic Muscle Gain

Breakfast:

Eggs and Whole GrainToast (Rye if possible)

Snack:

Protein Shake

Lunch:

Tuna Salad

Snack:

Nuts

Dinner:

Salmon, Chicken or Beef with Fresh or Stemed Vegetables.

The carbohydrates in the first menu provide large amounts of available energy stores for endurance.

The second menu supplies the body with large amounts of protein to help replace and build muscle.

There are many different fad diets out there but a balanced diet always gives the best results.

By adding a little bit more protein or carbohydrates in certain places athletes can specifically tailor their diet to their own personal needs.

As important as healthy food is healthy hydration and the proper amount of it is equally as important. Please carry with you clean, pure water which includes minerals. Some athletes highly recommend kangen water. The body cannot function without adequate amounts of liquids. Even partial dehydration causes sharp decline in physical as well as mental performance.

Good and healthy athletic diet doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact it can be and is quite simple as long as you follow the above tips for a balanced and healthy diet menu for athletes.

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View video below on diet hints for athletes, what to eat before a match, a race.

 

Proper Nutrition For Athletes

Athletes aim to  build lean muscle mass  to increase their athletic performance. If you are an athlete, the important key to achieving your muscle gain goals is to have proper nutrition and calorie intake for your workout routine. Most competitive athletes know that not all calories are created equal.

Eating healthy foods from well balanced diet menu and thus getting the right calories is a must.

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Once you have the the obligatory nutritional base covered you may want to explore some supplements. But let’s first review the basic components every athlete needs to be mindful of getting.

Carbohydrates

proper nutrition for athletes - carbohydrares, picture

Carbohydrates are the leading energy resource for building strength in muscles. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the muscles to provide energy for short, explosive bursts of exercise. The harder and longer you workout, the more carbohydrates your muscles need. If your stored glycogens are exhausted then you will feel a drop in energy and find it very difficult to continue exercising. If you continue to work out without any energy stores then the body will start burning muscle instead of fat reducing your exercise effectiveness. You can see why eating enough of the proper foods for good carbohydrates is important when building muscles  through strength training.

Protein

for proper athlete nutrition protein, illustration

In order to build muscle your body needs protein because it is the foundational building block for muscle tissue. The amount you exercise and body weight will both play a factor in how much protein your body requires. You should consult a nutritionist or personal trainer to determine the proper protein uptake you need but a general rule is around half a gram of protein per pound of body mass for average athletes. If you are serious about strength training and workout 5 or more times a week you may want 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Burn Fat, Build Muscle

Even though your ultimate goal is to burn fat and  build muscle  you need to include some fat into your diet to keep your body healthy. This will help your body burn fat and keep muscle along with giving you some wiggle room in your diet. You should aim for 25% of your calories to come from unsaturated fat.

Additional Hydration, Nutrition

Athletes require more than the dubious standard eight glasses of water a day to replace the fluids lost during an intense workout. Please make sure that the quality and purity of water you drink is supreme. It should have no chemicals like chlorine and fluoride but it should also not be completely deminerilized. Kangen water is  recommended by some athletes. It is a good idea to consume about a liter of water during a workout and 2 cups of water before and after your workout. This will ensure your body does not become dehydrated during an exercise routine lessening the impact of your efforts.

Another option is a protein shake designed as a meal replacement; although this may just be a snack if you are really pushing hard. It is important to recharge your body after exercising with protein, carbohydrates and hydration so that your body is fully fueled for the next intense session. This will help promote fat burning after your workout and complement building muscle mass in future workouts.

proper supplement for athletes nutrition is protein drink

Nutritional Supplements For Athletes

There are many nutritional supplements touted as the best thing ever however trained athletes should know that some of these products could be gimmicks. Since nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA there is a lot of room for stretching the truth. Seasoned strength trainers do utilize a few supplements including whey protein powders, creatine and fish oils.

 

Creatine

Creatine is a supplement that helps muscles recover from a workout and is a good way to speed up muscle building when coupled with a solid diet and exercise regiment. Creatine occurs naturally in some meats but you can take about 5 grams for 5 days for an extra boost. It is a good idea to rotate creatine usage to maximize its affect in building muscle. Many athletes take it for 5 days then take 5 days off and start using again. Be aware that if you take creatine everyday eventually it will lose effectiveness.

Green Tea

green tea benefits athletic performance by reducing oxidative stress

The benefits of green tea are numerous. It is very rich in antioxidants which are important for protection from oxidative stress and excellerated aging. Green tea has been around for thousands of years and has no known side effects. It increases metabolism and helps burn fat.    Green tea extract    is one supplement that no athlete should overlook.

Remember to always consult a registered nutritionist and qualified physician before you start taking any new or additional supplements.

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By: Mark Simon

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