The best nutrition for athletes

The best forms of training ensure maximum physical output without using all the body's resources. That's why it’s important for the body to get the right nourishment in the proper amounts.

Which foods are the best?

Whichever sport or form of exercise you choose, proper nutrition is essential for achieving optimal performance. In other words, you need the right fuel for your engine. But everyone’s needs are different. The ideal diet for an athlete is one that is satisfying and ensures a complete variety of nutrients, as well as an adequate quantity of liquids.

A balanced diet for an athlete should consist of 60% carbohydrates, preferably complex (the main source of energy for the muscles comes from carbohydrates, and is released gradually). In addition to grains (preferably whole), starches and legumes are also excellent.

Proteins are important, especially those obtained from white meat, fish, eggs and milk. These are necessary in order to prevent the body from consuming the substances that make up the muscle tissues themselves.

Even fats are fundamental (especially vegetable-based), as they provide the energy necessary for prolonged efforts requiring strength: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, and soy are ideal.

Isotonic drinks are recommended because they rehydrate the body's tissues and provide vitamins and minerals.

Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of vitamins, mineral salts and fiber, especially when eaten fresh and raw.

An athlete's diet should always be light, easy to digest and easy for the body to absorb.

What should be limited?

The following should be limited or avoided altogether:

  • Preserved and canned foods
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods
  • Rich and processed sauces
  • Carbonated beverages loaded with sugar
  • Sweets rich in fats and sugar
  • Excessive quantities of tea and coffee
  • Sugar and fructose

What to eat and how often

In order to achieve optimal performance, an athlete should ideally consume five small meals a day, including two snacks, based on the duration and intensity of the physical activity performed.

The diet can be gradually adjusted to meet any new nutritional needs that may arise. The amounts will depend on the amount of energy consumed every day, based on:

  • Activity levels
  • Basal metabolism
  • Daily routine
  • Gender
  • Stress level

It is recommended to wait one hour after breakfast and at least two or three hours after lunch and dinner before training. It is also advisable to avoid eating for one hour after the training session.

Following these guidelines will help you: improve your physical strength and technical ability, while at the same time learning more about your body and what it takes to ensure better overall health.

“An athlete's diet should always be light, easy to digest and easy for the body to absorb.”