If you are considering taking up a new sport or training for a marathon or triathlon, you should seed advice from a professional sports nutritionist or registered dietitian, as well as a personal trainer. A sports nutritionist can help you modify your diet to optimize your athletic performance, as well as your overall health. He or she can recommend dietary changes and any necessary vitamin, mineral, or nutritional supplements that you will need to help compensate for the extra demands your body will require from additional or extreme exercise.
The Nutritional Needs of Athletes
While everyone should eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, lean meats, beans, and essential fats, most athletes require additional carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to increase their speed, strength, endurance, and recovery time after workouts. Without professional guidance about how much more carbs, fats, and proteins are needed for specific sports and activities, many athletes can find themselves depleted of energy or at a greater risk of injury.
Different Diets for Different Sports
What makes sports nutrition even more complicated is that different exercises and sports create different nutritional needs. For example, strength sports such as bodybuilding and weight lifting require extra carbohydrates for instant glycogen release, while endurance sports such as long-distance running require more protein and essential fats to increase endurance. A qualified sports nutritionist can help you with a healthy nutrition plan that is designed just for you and your athletic goals.
Achieving Fitness Goals
Many athletes find that they can work out regularly and excessively at the gym, or with a personal trainer, and still not reach their fitness goals. They might not realize that they have specific nutrition needs that are not being met, which are keeping them from reaching their fitness or weight loss goals. A sports nutritionist can help you balance your personal fitness training program with your diet, which will help you achieve your goals.
Carbs, Fats, and Proteins
While carbohydrates provide instant energy, fats increase endurance, and proteins repair and rebuild body issues that are broken down during exercise. The right combination of all three is necessary for optimal athletic performance.
Sports Nutrition Supplements
Performance enhancing supplements can also help to increase speed, strength, and endurance. However, any supplements that you take must be balanced with your diet. It is very important for your health to get advice from a certified sports nutritionist before taking any performance enhancing supplements.
One thing is true and consistent for all exercise programs. You should replenish your fluids within 30 minutes after any type of workout. A drink of water, juice, sports drinks, or milk will help to re-hydrate your body and speed muscle recovery.