Eating nutritious food is vital to an athlete's success on the field, court, pool, etc...The trick to meal planning is recognizing bad eating habits and changing them to good eating habits. Once you get used to eating well, you will likely prefer to eat good, healthy foods instead of bad, unhealthy foods.
The benefits from a healthy diet will be evident, and should include:
- Improved athletic performances (for training AND game-time, meet-time, match-time, etc.)
- Increased energy throughout the day
- Better sleep
- Improved/ more stable mood
- Safer and more effective methods for desired weight loss OR weight gain
... and a wide range of overall health benefits, including:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Reduced risk of certain cancers
... and more!
The basic idea for creating a healthy diet is balancing protein, carbs, and fat throughout the day. The body uses each of these three components for energy, depending on how long and how intensely you train, and also to build all of the cells and tissues and organs your body needs to make you strong and healthy.
Basic Macronutrient Intake Model
- Protein 30% - 35%
- Fat 20% - 25%
- Carbs 50% - 65%
Based on the macronutrient ratio above, some athletes may want to modify these proportions based on how many calories they burn each day (mainly from exercise) and/or efforts to gain or lose weight.
For instance, if a football player needs to take in more calories to build muscle and make sure he has enough energy for two-a-day workouts, he may want to add more protein to his diet to build muscle, and also eat more carbs and (healthy) fats so he has enough energy for his muscles to use during exercise without having to burn the protein in his body he needs to increase his muscle mass.
All three "macronutrient" categories are needed for your body to work properly. This is why most "fad" diets do not work. Eating healthy means eating a wide variety of natural foods to give your body the range of nutrients it needs for success.
ATTENTION : All content relating to nutrition herein should be considered general, non-clinical information and guidance. Always consult with your doctor or a professional nutritionist when seeking ANY personalized dietetic advice that may significantly affect your immediate and/or long-term health.