An athlete’s body is a finely tuned machine built up over countless hours of practice, training and pushing yourself to the limit. Still, the best athletes know that simply being dedicated to training can only take you so far. To be truly at the top of their game, an athlete must focus not only on their skills, but on a wide range of mental and physical aspects. In this regard, nutrition holds the biggest key to unlocking an athlete’s full potential as diet directly impacts every single aspect of athletic performance.
Strength And Stamina
In addition to improving the particular skill set necessary for your sport, practice and training are all about building up strength and stamina. In this sense, nutrition is obviously hugely important. Athletes need to ensure they have a high protein intake to help build muscle and aid in recovery. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel during weight lifting and strength training, while athletes need to consume plenty of carbohydrates and fats to aid in endurance training.
Of course, the specific nutritional requirements will vary from person to person and depend in large part on the type of training you’re currently doing. For this reason, it is highly recommended that athletes consult with nutritional professionals, like those at Plan 7 Coaching, to develop a customized diet plan that exactly suits their current and future needs.
Preparing For Peak Performance
Nutrition isn’t only import during training. In fact, if anything nutrition is even more important in the days and hours leading up to a big race, game or other athletic event. Preparing yourself for peak physical performance means providing your body with all the fuel it will need in the form of carbohydrates. At the same time, athletes need to ensure that they avoid consuming too many fats. Although fat is important during endurance training, consuming too much fat just before a race or game will generally harm your performance by making your body feel slow and sluggish.
The Mental Side Of Sports
The psychological and mental aspects of athletics are equally as important as the physical side, and this is another area where nutrition plays a hugely important role. A healthy, balanced diet has been shown to help improve cognitive functions, which means proper nutrition can provide a boost to your concentration, decision making and other mental aspects that can help you reach peak performance. Making sure to consume plenty of Omega fatty acids has been shown to have a major boost to cognitive function and mental abilities. At the same time, eating too many simple sugars and saturated fats has been shown to have a negative impact on cognitive performance, which means you’ll definitely want to stay away from these in the hours and days leading up to any athletic event.
Recovery Is Key
Athletes require a huge amount of fuel to keep their bodies going, and no time is this truer than after an intense training session or performance. In these situations, the body’s demand for nutrients is higher than ever. Training and performance causes damage to the muscles and the key to building the muscles back up stronger is immediately providing the body with a huge boost of nutrients. The first few hours after training or performance are the most important in terms of quickly recovering. Without providing the body with all the nutrients it needs during this crucial period, your recovery time will be greatly increased and it could take weeks to build your performance back up instead of a few hours or days.