Athletes lead a life based on physical activity and a healthy diet, but what exactly should those who practice sport eat? Let’s find out together.
To stay in shape, it is not only necessary to train regularly, but it is equally important to follow a diet food healthy. We’ve heard it said many times and it’s the mantra that athletes must do to enjoy good physical shape.
Athletes, whether amateur or professional, know that good nutrition is essential. Not only to achieve good performance, but also to avoid food shortages, troubles and injuries.
But what should an athlete’s diet consist of? And especially as it should reboot food before and after physical activity? Melarossa.it experts have made some advice. Let’s see them together in detail.
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What Athletes Should Eat to Stay Fit
The distribution of nutrients also depends on the physical characteristics of the individual and the sport practiced. But in general, it is necessary to ensure that an athlete’s diet contains a proportional amount of vitamins, fats, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins. More precisely, the diet of an athlete must have as main source of energy i carbohydrateswhich should be about 45-60% of total daily calories.
the proteins, which to maintain strong muscles should be 10-15% of daily energy and should be divided between animals and plants. To combat fatigue and inflammation, foods rich in antioxidants, especially fruits and vegetables, are important. But also foods rich in iron, because iron is able to transport oxygen to the muscles and therefore improve performance. The best absorbed is found in fish and meat, while the most difficult to absorb is found in eggs, legumes, spinach and food.
To ensure good bone health, the Soccer it is fundamental and it is mainly found in milk and its derivatives. But also in fish and whole grains. Potassium, on the other hand, helps prevent cramps, while magnesium counteracts fatigue and promotes muscle relaxation. Foods such as bananas, avocados, beans and potatoes are high in potassium, while magnesium is found in legumes, as well as dried fruits and whole grains. Finally, vitamin C, present in green leafy vegetables, cherries, peaches, apples, kiwis, strawberries and citrus fruits, is essential to preserve the elasticity of the ligaments and ensure the production of collagen.
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Now that we have given an overview of the foods that an athlete should assimilate, let’s try to understand in detail what he should eat before and after training.
What to eat athletes should eat before physical activity
First of all it must be said that whatever the sport practiced, food must be consumed at least 3 hours before training and must be rich in carbohydrateswhich must be distributed according to the degree of intensity of the physical activity:
- at low intensity, 5 g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight is sufficient
- at high intensity but intermittently, 6 g per kg of body weight is sufficient
- at high and continuous intensity, 8 g per kg of body weight is ideal
In addition to having the right amount of carbohydrates, the meal in this case must be digestible, must have a low percentage of fiber and protein and must have an average glycemic index. But let’s go back a bit: what is meant by glycemic index? It is nothing more than the rate at which foods are able to raise blood glucose levels.
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So an ideal meal might be brown rice with tuna and zucchini or pasta. Alternatively, a lean meat sandwich is also good.
What to eat athletes should eat after physical activity
Finally, after training, you have to be careful not to overdo it, because the body needs to recover after physical exertion. That’s why it can help to dab the stomach with something light, like a piece of chocolate or tea, while waiting for lunch or dinner. During meals, it is necessary to combine carbohydrates with a high glycemic index, such as potatoes, pasta or bread, with proteins whose sources can be fish, ham or chicken.
This applies to those who play sports at an amateur level. For those who play competitive sports, they should eat foods with a high glycemic index immediately after physical activity. In this way, depleted glycogen stores will be quickly restored. Here, in this case, fruit or a plate of rice turn out to be the ideal choice.
Now that you know what you can eat before and after exercise, remember to drink enough. To find out how much water to drink during training, you can read our article.
Speaking rather of daily hydration, know that the ideal would be to consume about 1.5 to 2 liters per day, anticipating the stimulus of thirst.