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Sports Nutrition

Keeping your body in tune for high performance

If you're an aspiring athlete or just someone who loves to be active in sport, you know the importance of taking care of your body. Along with an exercise routine and lots of practice in your chosen activity, sports nutrition health matters are at the top of the list in keeping you at your peak performance level.

Sports Nutrition Health Plan

Carbs

Those of us on weight loss programs would balk at the idea of eating carbs, carbs, carbs, but for athletes, carbohydrates are a necessary source of energy that helps them perform. Carbohydrates break down into sugar, which gets absorbed by the body and provides the energy needed to fuel muscle contractions. They are an ideal fuel source for short, intensive activities, such as sprinting or weightlifting, because the body can access the energy immediately. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include oatmeal, whole-wheat bread and legumes.

Protein

Protein is a less immediate but equally necessary requirement in an athlete's diet. It helps in muscle repair and rebuilding, and can help the body to better use its storage of carbohydrate energy. Strength-training athletes require higher levels of protein in their diet than endurance trainers, but it isn't necessarily true that a protein-only diet will lead to more muscle mass. Carbohydrate intake is just as important, since you need carbs to fuel the muscle contractions necessary for strength training. It's the combination of carbs for energy and protein for muscle-building that leads to greater gains in size. Healthy sources of protein include fish, chicken, eggs and tofu.

Fats

Fats are commonly viewed as bad, but they are a necessary dietary requirement for endurance athletes and, like protein, they're beneficial in short, intensive activities because they help athletes access carbohydrate energy. The key to using fats in sports nutrition is to consider the timing – converting fat into usable energy takes time, so it's best not to load up before a meet or training session. Healthy sources of fats include avocados, nuts, salmon and organic peanut butter.

Sports Nutrition Supplements

If you're not getting all the fuel you need from foods, choosing the right sports nutrition supplement may be a good option. Speaking with a nutritionist, professional trainer or medical doctor can help you identify exactly which areas of your diet are lacking.

These professionals can also provide recommendations for reputable nutrition supplement brands, or you can find information online through reputable fitness websites and retailers. Online retailers often offer discount sports nutrition supplements, but be sure you research reputable companies and consult your doctor before starting a supplement plan.

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