Sports Nutrition | Food as Fuel
- Posted on: Feb 27 2012
Nutrition is important for everyone, but there is no one more in need of a good diet than an athlete. While no article can be a substitute for individualized nutritional advice, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has published some useful suggestions for eating right and achieving your peak performance.
Good nutrition and athletic ability go hand in hand, but it’s important to understand something equally essential—staying hydrated. “Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after sports events to stay hydrated and to avoid overheating,” explains the AAOS. “When you work out or compete, especially in hot weather, try to closely match the amount of fluid you drink with the amount you lose in sweat.” Now, read on to learn about the basics of fueling your workout.
Sports Nutrition Essentials
When it comes to achieving peak performance, it’s all about eating the right foods in the right proportion. Here is the AAOS’s list of “fuel sources” every athlete should know:
- Carbohydrates: What do carbohydrates like fruit, pasta and breads mean to you? Energy! This is because your body converts carbohydrates into glucose, a sugar that sustains you through high-intensity activities. And, as the AAOS reminds us, “If your body runs out of carbohydrate fuel during exercise, it will burn fat and protein for energy, causing your performance level to drop.”
- Proteins: Proteins, like those found in eggs, poultry and fish, are often referred to as the body’s “building blocks.” Consuming an adequate amount of protein is particularly important after a workout. They’re essential for repairing your muscle fibers and replenishing stored energy.
- Fats: Not all fat is bad. In fact, your body needs some fat to function at its best. As an alternative fuel source to glucose, fats like those found in oils should be limited to “20% to 30% of daily calories,” explains the AAOS.
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Posted in: Health & Fitness