Are you an athlete? While there is a lot of information circulating around regarding what athletes should eat, how they should train, etc., it’s important to rediscover the vital basics that will enhance your health and longevity. Any time that you increase your activity levels, you must consciously adapt your nutritional needs to meet your metabolic needs.
“Macronutrients” is just a fancy term for your proteins, carbohydrates, and water: all three of them being pivotal for an athlete’s performance and health. For specific information on when and how much of these macros you should be getting, types of food they are found in, portion sizes, check out this guideline.
For a general guideline to help you optimize your health as an athlete, you can follow these rules for eating around your training!
- Drink 2 glasses of water upon waking.
- Always eat breakfast (whether pre or post workout)
- Eat to train, don’t train to eat.
- Have as many meals throughout the day as you are comfortable with.
- Keep meal patterns consistent.
- Careful not to overeat in your recovery meal.
- For workouts longer than 2 hours, eating half the calories you burn each hour should be sufficient.
- Last meal should be at least 2-3 hours before going to sleep.
Once you have established healthy eating habits for your amount of training, stay on track with your plan by following this easy guideline:
- Choose the right macronutrients
- Make your protein “complete”
- Complex carbohydrate over simple carbohydrate
- FAT = “butter is better; go nuts”
- Do a lap around the perimeter of the grocery store before heading down the aisles
- Read nutrition labels
- Stay consistent
- Buy a pedometer or fitness tracker
- Vegetables first! At last 2/3 of your plate should be straight from the plant.
Your body and mind deserve the highest amounts of love and diligence. Once you start to think about fueling your body with REAL and WHOLESOME food, your change in habits will evolve into a healthy, happy lifestyle.