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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
By: Mark Simon