Athletic Trainer Suggests Whole Foods Over Supplements
We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat.” That is definitely true for athletes of all ages, whether you play on a high school team or are training to run a half-marathon. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the right nutritional mix to improve their athletic performance or have unhealthy habits that can hurt their health.
Food is fuel and the right fuel will help your body perform at its best. Some people rely on supplements to get the vitamins they need, but the best option is to get those nutrients from whole foods. Here are some nutrition tips all athletes can benefit from:
Drink more water. Water makes up nearly 60 percent of your body and you can rapidly lose fluid when sweating. Most people wait until they are thirsty to grab something to drink. But by that time, you are already dehydrated. Remember to drink water before, during and after exercising. Plain water is a good choice. You do not need a sports drink unless you are doing a long, intense workout and need to replenish some electrolytes.
Eat more protein. Protein helps your body maintain its muscles, but unfortunately some people opt to get this vital nutrient from shakes or bars rather than food. Lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs or milk are all excellent sources of protein. People who rely too much on supplements may hurt their kidneys since too much protein can cause them to work too hard.
Fuel up with carbs: Some people stay away from carbohydrates, worrying they lead to weight gain, but carbs provide your body with fuel. Simple carbs, such as sugar, provide you with an immediate burst of energy while complex carbs, such as wholegrain bread, provide energy over a longer period of time.
Drink more milk. Milk is a great post-workout beverage since it combines protein and carbohydrates and puts your body back in balance.
When your body gets the nutrients it needs, it can only improve your athletic performance. Think carefully about what you are putting into your body and go for whole grains, lean meats and dairy products as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. With that combination, your body will be fueled for your practice, game or any other athletic activity.
Gary Premo of ThedaCare Orthopedic Care is the licensed athletic trainer at Weyauwega-Fremont High School.