We wouldn’t take it quite that far, but your diet does play a vital role in your health and everyday life, especially if you have an active lifestyle. Here are some staples you can add to your diet right now to achieve better results, or at least, make it through the day with a little energy left to spare. These are our tips about everyday eating for the everyday athlete.
You may not be training for the Olympics, but you certainly have a love for an active lifestyle and the desire to keep yourself fit and healthy. The old “calories in, calories out” guide is no longer relevant. In fact, it’s so outdated, it can be astonishing to see or hear someone still using that phrase. Health is about what you eat, when you eat, stress levels, quality and amount of sleep, hormones, age, genetics, activity levels, types of activities, and so much more. Adding some strategic food choices to your menu and removing the foods that don’t serve you will definitely make you feel better, healthier, more energized and ready for the next challenge.
Just as important as what you eat is when you eat. Stock up on carbohydrates before strenuous exercise to provide the necessary extra energy. Add protein to the mix when you do this. It’s useful for your workout and protein is a companion food that helps your body digest starches. You already know that during exercise, you should try to opt for something to keep you hydrated while simultaneously replenishing lost minerals and electrolytes. And consider adding some quick digestion fruits, especially if you are in the middle of a long training session and don’t want to lose steam. This might be blueberries, bananas, apples, or raisins. After exercise, protein and carbohydrates are your best choices, to help the muscle tissue repair, replenish, and refuel. You should also try to avoid going more than 30 minutes without eating in the few hours after exercise since that time frame is essential for proper recovery, and will influence the final results.
Potatoes. Seems too simple to be true, but the fact of the matter is, potatoes are one of the most complete foods when used the right way for your diet and lifestyle. They are also inexpensive, widely available, and keep for a long time - a nice bonus. Potatoes have got it all: carbs, almost every vitamin and mineral our bodies need before, during, and after exercise. They also play an important role in protein metabolism.
Oats. For a long time, specialists have recommended oats for athletes (both professional and amateur), and it’s easy to see why. Carbs like these keep you energized for extended periods of time, and the soluble fibers for gut health, oats are rich in magnesium, iron and B vitamins.
Coffee. One of the world’s most consumed beverage has more to offer than just caffeine, which, by itself, benefits your performance and concentration. The antioxidants you will find in a cup of coffee play a significant role in your health because they help remove the free radicals from your blood and fight illness and diseases.
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Bananas. Besides the carbohydrates and protein, bananas will help you reload a series of vitamins and minerals essential to your performance, both physical and mental. They contain potassium, which is excellent for staving off muscle cramps and controlling blood pressure. They have tyrosine for focus and concentration. And of course, bananas are high in vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and iron.
Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt has steadily earned its spot in the recommendations list for athlete and active lifestyle diets thanks to its mix of carbs and protein. However, it’s also excellent because it’s a good source of electrolytes, calcium, and probiotics, which help keep your gut health in check.
Berries. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, you name it, this family of fruits is an athlete’s best friend. They packed with antioxidants to clean your blood, and flavonoids to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Berries are also known for their effect on preventing physical and mental decline. If you really want to get specific, go for blueberries because they contain less sugar than most berries, so you’ll be more likely to last longer and avoid the sugar rush followed by that sugar- low.
Combine these creatively and add them to your diet with the right timing so your workout will be optimized and your body will have the best chances for successful results. Whether your goal is more energy, strength, endurance, or just overall health maintenance, working on healthy food routines will be noticeably more effective than the old calorie counting imperative, “calories in, calories out.”