If you are an athlete or a runner and are into competitive sports, you need to adopt a comprehensive and stringent eating plan in order to sustain and maintain peak efficiency and high levels of fitness.
Proper nutrition and hydration can actually determine how you perform in a race. Fatigue can put the final nail in your coffin during a crucial race. A balanced diet is what most runners need in order to stay fit and healthy. Let us see some basic nutrition tips for runners and athletes to stay in shape.
Best Tips On Nutrition For Runners
About 60% of a runner’s diet should comprise of healthy carbs. Long lasting, fibrous carbs are the best sources of energy. Opt for nutritious snacks comprising of oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, potatoes, boiled rice and starchy vegetables. These are needed to give you energy especially if you are into long distance running.
Proteins are the building blocks of life and are needed for muscular efficiency and toning. It also helps in muscle recovery and repair. If you are into extensive running and are trying to lose weight, then aim for at least 20% of your dietary intake in the form of protein.
Runners should aim to consume at least .75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Good sources of dietary protein are lean meats like chicken, fish, eggs, low- fat dairy, nuts, beans and legumes.
High levels of dietary fat can leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic and increase the chances of weight gain. Aim for 20% of dietary intake in the form of good fats like nuts, oily fish, flaxseeds and olive oil that have omega -3 fatty acids, which are good for health and prevent cardio vascular diseases.
Vitamins and Minerals
Trace vitamins are needed by runners to neutralize the occurrence of free radicals. These radicals are destroyed from the antioxidants found in vitamin-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Calcium is needed by runners for stronger bones and also to prevent stress fractures.
Good sources of calcium are dairy products, beans, eggs and dark vegetables. Iron is needed for speedy supply of oxygen to the body cells in order to prevent fatigue. Make sure you up your intake of iron especially if you are a runner.
Tips on Eating before a Race
If you are into professional running, here are some tips, which can increase your overall performance and energy. Eat 30 minutes before a race. The ideal thing to eat is something, which has high carbs and proteins. This will give you energy before your run and help you to sustain.
If you are just running a mile or two, have something to drink before the race. A cup of lemon juice or orange juice will give you energy. Try to carry candy with you on the way. Candy will refuel you if you are running long distance. Even nuts with a little bit of salt are a good option.
Sip on the way. Keep sipping on fluids while running, as they will keep you hydrated. Sports drinks and electrolytes help to restore the lost fluids and salts from the body.
Photo Credit: Healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/FitnessandExercise/Pages/Nutrition-for-Distance-Runners-Part-2.aspx