It's important for athletes in any sport to eat right given the extreme and sometimes harsh physicality of their fields. With such a high fitness requirement, it's essential that they acquire the right balance of high-energy, protein-rich foods that will help them gain muscle and recover from strenuous training as healthily as possible. If you're curious about what goes into an athlete's diet, or interesting in adopting a more fitness-friendly menu, here's a basic outline of what you should be eating.

Ideal Diet for Active Athletes

he bulk of many athlete's diets is probably carbohydrate-rich foods. Carbohydrates yield more energy per unit than of oxygen consumed than fats, and since oxygen is typically the limiting factor for endurance-testing events, you should be as efficient with oxygen as possible. It's not about eating carbohydrates all the time, either, since the body gains the most utilization from stored carbs - it's best to enjoy a higher carbohydrate meals 2-3 days prior to strenuous activity.

Protein rich foods like fish and lean meats are also great to have on the menu, to a lesser degree than carbohydrates. The energy they provide is not as sustainable as that of carbohydrates, but good, lean proteins are still an important part of a healthy diet. It provides less energy than carbs and fats, but depending on what kind of exercise you are doing (particularly strength straining), your body may require more protein. With a good, varied diet, supplements are unnecessary.

Foods to Avoid

  • Alcohol consumption should be avoided. It can lead to poor recovery from strenuous activities and slower repair of injuries. It's also a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration - which is why caffeinated drinks like coffee should also be avoided too.
  • Most high sugar content foods do not provide efficient energy to your body; sugary foods lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar, followed by a swift decline.

The Pre-Game Meal

Three to four hours before the big event, starches in the form of complex carbohydrates.  Low fat meals with whole wheat breads and pastas or vegetables are the best option, since they are digested slowly and provides consistent, long-term energy to the body. However, it's important also, not to consume carbs less than two or so hours before the game, since strenuous activity at that time may deplete your glycogen stores in endurance-testing situations.   Related Searches on Yummly:

Photo Credits: Blog Stack, The Boot Camp Blog, Happy Dietitian

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