If you’re training hard in the gym or on the pitch and you’re not seeing results, it can be pretty disheartening.
You might wonder what you’re doing wrong and whether or not you need to switch up your training regime to reach your goals. But the problem might not lie in your training routine. It might be due to your diet.
Nutrition is just as important as your training program when it comes to growing muscle or building strength and endurance. Without the proper nutrients to fuel your body, you will struggle to see the results that you want.
Competing at a high level is extremely demanding on your body and failing to eat adequate pre-workout and post-workout meals can negatively affect your performance. It can also slow down your recovery and increase your risk of injury.
So, what should top-level athletes actually be eating? Here are some top sports nutrition tips to help you persistently perform at your best.
Consume Enough Protein
Protein is another essential nutrient for top-level athletes. Your body needs protein for muscle growth and recovery around your workouts.
For top-level athletes who train multiple times a week, anywhere between 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is ideal. Most of this protein should come from foods, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, milk, beans, and nuts.
If you’re struggling to reach your daily protein targets, you can use supplements. Protein powders contain whey, pea, or hemp protein and they usually contain around 20 grams of protein per scoop. You can find protein powders in most health food stores in Utah.
Consume Lots of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are your body’s main fuel source so they are an extremely important part of your diet.
Carbs are stored in your skeletal muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. During a tough workout or game, your body breaks down any immediately available glucose. After all of this glucose has been used, it will begin to break down glycogen stores for energy.
Consuming enough carbohydrates in your diet is necessary for two main reasons. It provides your body with a pre-workout glucose source and it helps to replenish lost glycogen stores after each training session.
The types of carbs that you eat before and after your workouts may vary. Before a workout, you’ll need to focus on eating simple sugars that are easy for the body to break down. This ensures that you have enough energy to fuel your workout.
After your workout, complex carbohydrates are usually better to aid glycogen replenishment. Since you don’t need an immediate boost of energy, less refined carbs are more suitable to provide you with long-lasting energy for the rest of the day.
Stay Hydrated and Replaced Lost Electrolytes
Staying hydrated is essential for anybody but it’s especially important for top-level athletes. Intense exercise leads to an increased loss of water, leaving you feeling dehydrated.
You also lose electrolytes in your sweat. Electrolytes are necessary for nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction.
Mild dehydration can affect your performance and may lead to headaches and dizziness. Severe dehydration can cause fainting and may be life-threatening.
To prevent yourself from becoming dehydrated, consume lots of water before, during, and after your workouts. To replace lost electrolytes, consume sports drinks that will hydrate you and provide essential minerals for your body.
To ensure you are staying hydrated, keep a close eye on the color of urine. Dark yellow urine indicates mild dehydration. Aim to keep your urine clear or very pale yellow.
Consider Taking Creatine Supplements
Creatine is an amino acid that is found naturally in the body. More specifically, protein is found in the muscles and the brain. You can also consume creatine in various foods and creatine monohydrate supplements.
Phosphocreatine is a phosphorylated form of creatine that provides your body with energy during short, high-intensity bouts of exercise, such as sprints.
Phosphocreatine enables the rapid mobilization of high-energy phosphate in your skeletal and cardiac muscles. These high-energy phosphates are used by your cells to produce energy in the form of ATP.
You can boost your body’s creatine levels using supplements. It helps to boost the energy availability in your cells, enhancing your performance and speeding up recovery after your workouts.
Usually, 3 to 5 g of a high-quality creatine monohydrate supplement is the most suitable amount for athletes to take each day. You can take it before or after training, depending on your preferences.