Athletic Eating Guidelines
You work hard to develop your specific sport skills. You would not be a member of a collegiate athletic team if you were not exceptional at your sport. You also spend time developing strength and cardiovascular conditioning. If you skipped your workouts and practice sessions, you would not stay a member of your team for very long. Nutrition is another part of your training. If you don’t work at healthy eating, you are missing an opportunity to enhance and improve your performance.
An athlete seeking to maximize his or her potential will follow these key nutritional guidelines:
Three key components of a healthy diet include:
- Variety: Choosea a variety of foods using the Food Guide Pyramid (http://mypyramid.gov.)
- Moderation: Balance high-fat foods and sweets with healthy food choices
- Wholesomeness: Choose fresh, natural foods as often as possible.
Understand What Your Body Needs
- Both athletes and non-athletes need the same nutrients: water, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
- You need more calories, carbohydrates, and water because you burn more energy, have larger muscle stores, and lose more fluids.
Improve Athletic Performance
- Don't take two steps forward when you workout, then take one step back with poor eating habits
- Eating right will maximize your training efforts
- Proper nutrition prevents fatigue and injury
Long-Term Benefits of Good Nutritional Practices
- The right foods enhance your performance, keeping you healthy, and feeling good.
- Make a commitment to practice good nutrition to decrease your risk of developing lifetime diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. A well-balanced diet can help protect your long-term health.
Make Gradual Changes
- Avoid frustration. Gradually change your food choices to improve your diet.
- Challenge yourself to make one nutrition change each week.