Nutrition for Performance Sports
In the world of nutrition, there is a high class of athletes and bodybuilders that eat for performance. The goal in this type of nutrition is to see food as fuel, rather than as something that just “tastes good”.
Let’s break down the best nutrition for performance sports
The food you eat is the most important aspect of sports nutrition. Modern science shows us that the most beneficial diet for optimal sports performance comes from a whole food, plant-based diet. Of course, this can be difficult, and the debate is open to interpretation. In any case, all processed foods should be eliminated.
Most sports require high power output, strength and a moderate level of cardiovascular conditioning. To power your workouts and sport, carbohydrates should be the basis of your fuel. Your diet should comprise of about 60% high-fiber foods such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole grains, and fruit/vegetables.
30% of your diet should come from complete protein sources. All protein breaks down into amino acids to repair muscle so your goal should be to eat foods highest in Leucine, IsoLeucine, and Valine. Foods high in these compounds are red lentils, chicken, broccoli, turkey and rye-based grains.
The last 10% of your food should come from clean fat sources. This means avoiding all trans-fats whenever possible. Foods like red or processed meats contain a very high amount of fat, especially trans fats. Your fat intake should be restricted to nuts and seeds low in transfats. Some examples are sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, brazil nuts, and cashews.
The last aspects to consider is total calories and frequency of meals. The optimal frequency of meals and snacks is 4-6/day. Total calories are dependant on your sport and goals. In a general sense, as a very active athlete, you should be eating over 3000 calories to build muscle and maintain weight.