In an earlier post, we discussed why clean eating and proper nutrition is good for you and what the benefits are. But this is a topic worth repeating because its importance cannot be emphasised enough.
It’s pretty obvious how important good nutrition is for everyone but it’s most especially important for athletes because the effects of poor nutrition are almost immediately apparent in their performance. Their caloric needs are greater than non-athletes, and their bodies are working harder, burning calories much more rapidly and therefore will need about 2000 to 5000 calories per (depending on gender). If an athlete doesn’t make sure his or her nutrition is on point, not only will this affect his or her performance, but overall health as well.
Effect on Performance
With such great physical demands that come with a sport, the body will require the necessary fuel to help it perform well. It needs energy. Protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates are exactly the fuel your body needs to generate energy. The body has to be kept in optimal condition in order to churn out optimal results, and in order to do that, you need to protect and preserve your muscles. Muscle fatigue is something that can be prevented by making sure your glycogen and blood sugar levels are where they should be. You can’t expect your body to last long in an endurance sport if you don’t have enough carbohydrates in your diet, just like you can’t expect to build muscle if you’re not taking in enough protein.
While most people are averse to consuming fat, (and of course, it’s important to watch your fat intake) you must not eliminate it from your diet completely. Your body needs essential fatty acids which you can get from fat, and uses it as another source of energy–especially if your sport or activity goes for over an hour. It can provide up to 75 percent of the energy that endurance athletes need (for long-term aerobic performance).
When it comes to resistance training, your body will require a higher amount of protein. Bodybuilders take whey protein supplements in order to provide their body a steady stream of amino acids because that’s what you need to repair and build muscle. This is an aid of the high protein diet they would already be on.
Effect on Weight
Diet fads are not only unreliable and inconsistent, but they can also be detrimental to one’s health. When you have proper nutrition, you build yourself a good foundation for weight control. It’s easier to maintain a healthy weight when you’re eating right. Understanding macros and learning more about your body’s caloric needs will help you keep a healthy weight and also make sure your body doesn’t starve for the nourishment it needs. Learning, for example, how to properly consume (instead of completely avoiding) refined carbs like bread and pasta, can help you maximise your body’s performance and the result of a good lifting session. The case is usually that complex carbs (sweet potato, oats,etc) are great pre workout carb sources to consume, while simple carbs like bread, pasta, and some sugars are best consumed after a heavy lifting session.
It’s pretty clear why good nutrition is important, yet many will shrug it off due to their stubborn desire to either lose weight fast, or hold on to a certain physique (like with competitive bodybuilding or bikini competitions) where the show-day or competition day physique is extremely lean and low-fat. Everyday life has varying demands as well as numerous sources of stress on the mind and body, and if you don’t feed your body properly with the right kind of stuff, you’ll experience fatigue and depression at some point. If you want to succeed and accomplish your goals, if you want to enjoy life and experience happiness in big and small things, start by treating your body right. It will allow you to continue doing what you love for longer, and will keep you around the people you care about as well as enable you to take care of them for much better. Take care of yourself so you can take care of those you love. Just as soldiers train and equip themselves for battle, so should you nourish and care for your body before you meet the battles of everyday life.
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