The Million Dollar Question: How Do Athletic People Stay Fit While Eating More

February 20, 2019

Athletes are known for their awe-inspiring strength, stamina, and talent. Most of us aspire to their level of fitness. Their diets and fitness regimes are extreme. They cannot be compared to ours. What most of us forget is that they make their livelihood off sports or athletics activities; they have to make time for staying fit. Letting their regime slip affects their routines.

What many people don’t know is that an athlete’s diet is a major component to their incredible physiques and stamina. As you know, nutrition is important for all of us. Our diet is our fuel; therefore it needs to be the best quality.

Nutrition and Athletes

While you probably assume that athletes and special ops military personnel are chomping on carrots and kale every day, their diets aren’t as perfect as you think them to be. Each one of us has a guilty pleasure. We struggle with cravings and even portion control.

Depending on the sport a particular athlete specializes in, their nutritional requirements will be different.  For example, if you’re a heavy lifter; you have to balance your muscle and strength building with weight gain. Weight lifters are categorized by body weight, the more you weight, the more you are expected to lift. On the other hand, gymnasts have to maintain their light frame so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.

With that being said, athletes have a strenuous fitness regime they follow every day. With many running 10km and more a day, a usual 2000 calorie diet won’t cut it. Athletes generally consume a lot more. Recently, a famous triathlete was banned from a buffet for eating 100 plates of sushi.

Why do athletes consume more food? 

Athletes are instructed to load up on carbohydrates. Carbs are broken down into glucose which is stored in the muscles as glycogen. As you exercise, glycogen is used as energy for the body. Athletes who workout for over 90 minutes a day need to take special care when consuming carbs.

They load up on carbs 3-4 days before events to keep their glycogen levels to the max. Their diet consists of 70% carbohydrates like bran bread, cereals, and whole grain pasta.

Athletes avoid sugary and starchy foods 30 minutes before working out or an event.

During long exercise sessions, they snack and consume fluid every 20 minutes to keep their energy levels up. Protein bars, sports drinks, and gels are popular because of how fast they can be consumed and how quickly they are absorbed into the bloodstream.

Despite popular belief, athletes don’t focus solely on protein. Protein is an essential part of a balanced diet, but in limited quantities. 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of a person’s bodyweight is all they need.

Getting too much protein in their diet can put strain on their kidneys. Instead of supplements, they are instructed to eat high-quality protein. Their sources of protein are lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, eggs, and milk.

Recovery 

An athlete’s body undergoes immense strain. Their muscles get sore after every event, and they need time to recover. Milk is the best thing to consume after an event. It provides the right balance of carbs and proteins. Milk has casein and whey protein, which are known to be beneficial to athletes.

Whey protein is also absorbed quickly by the body, aiding the recovery process. Casein is digested slowly, but helps in the long-term recovery of muscles. Milk is packed full of calcium, promoting healthy bones too.

Replace the electrolytes lost

Athletes lose a lot of fluid and electrolytes due to sweat. Their high-intensity training and events have them sweating profusely. This is why you see many athletes drinking a famous colourful drink after every event. Sports drinks provide the body with the right amount of electrolytes and fluids.

Keeping up with a balanced diet can be difficult. It’s so tempting to let it slip and eat whatever you want. Healthy food can taste really delicious. Eat Your Cake is here to change your mind about healthy balanced meals. We provide custom meals in lower Mainland. Book a nutrition consultation and get the best meal plan for your requirements. We’ll deliver the ready to eat meals to you at your doorstep! Contact us at 604 - 259- 2253. 

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