An athlete’s performance in any given sport has a lot to do with their dietary intake and nutrition. Certain nutrients are specifically needed in higher dosages by active individuals and athletes to keep their performance at its peak, and monitoring this intake can have a tremendous effect on your ability to excel in sports!
Carbohydrates are the fuel source that gets your body going during physical activity. During workouts, your body uses up the stored carbohydrates present in the muscles to give you that extra boost of energy. This is why it’s imperative that you increase your carbohydrate intake after exercise to fuel up again.
For a quick burst of energy supply, opt for foods such as granola bars, nuts, vegetables, bread, and yogurt to stock up on carbs and restore your power bank. Sports drinks are also a good source of carbohydrates and can help you energize during and after exercise. Avoid snacking on junk food!
Water & Fluids
Participating in strenuous exercise causes you to lose several litres of sweat in just a few minutes. The longer the duration of your sporting performance, the more fluid and electrolytes are lost from your body. This amount needs to be recovered to avoid dehydration and maintain a healthy level of water content in the body.
Don’t wait until you’re critically thirsty to drink water. Instead, you should balance out your water intake before, during, and after the exercise period. While the exact requirements can vary depending on your age, weight, and several other factors, it’s recommended that you drink at least 1.5–2 glasses of water a few minutes prior to engaging in a sports activity.
During exercise, it’s advised that you drink half or one glass of water every 15 minutes if your session lasts for over an hour. After exercise, you may replace water with other calorie-containing drinks and fluids that can help restore hydration. While water is undoubtedly the best drink to keep you hydrated, sports and energy drinks are also beneficial in recovering the lost electrolytes, calories, and other nutrients.
Minerals & Vitamins
While these two nutrients don’t exactly provide your body with energy, they do help you improve your sports performance. For instance, minerals such as calcium, potassium, and sodium are electrolytes that influence the water content in your body. These help you stay hydrated during exercise. Calcium is also important for bone health and strength.
Vitamins B, C, D, & E are also vital for sports performance. Vitamin D, in particular, keeps the bones stronger. Athletes are recommended to have multivitamins and sports supplements containing minerals and vitamins as part of their diet to improve muscle functionality.
At Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute, we’ve got a talented team of sports medicine doctors in the greater Toronto area, offering sports physiotherapy and sports psychology services. We also provide medical injection therapy, podiatry, and acupuncture treatment.
Call us at 1 844 223-7364 to get in touch!