Typical athletes know about the importance of having good nutrition and eating the proper foods to stay healthy. But what about the “average” athlete, those that do not have the benefit of being paid to be super fit or to travel to extreme environments? While many athletes are able to maintain a healthy and varied diet, there are others that need special care when it comes to what they put into their bodies. Here is a look at what the typical athlete eats when they are not working out.
Athletes need more than good nutrition when it comes to staying in shape, but they also need a lot more vegetables and protein as well. Vegetables and other high protein sources like fish and eggs make up a large part of the typical athlete’s diet. Athletes need plenty of carbohydrates as well, with whole grain breads and pasta being the staple of their diets. And of course, athletes in sports need to eat calories to fuel the high intensity exercise they perform.
About Typical Athlete Diet
The typical North American diet is generally high in fat and low in protein, which is not conducive to extreme physical activity. Athletes need to eat more fats and protein to help them to fuel their exercise routines, but they need to limit the amount of saturated fats and calories they consume. This means opting for lean meats, low fat dairy products and other products with less fat and fewer calories. Eating whole grains instead of refined grains are another common change an athlete can make to their typical athlete diet.
But don’t just take my word for it, because there have been some interesting studies conducted on nutrition and exercise by researchers at the University of Illinois’ College of Medicine. One study found that female endurance runners were less sensitive to insulin than male triathletes. The subjects were healthy, nonathletes; they did not suffer from heart disease, cancer or obesity. Their study showed that the insulin sensitivity was reduced in women who adhered to a low carbohydrate, low saturated fat, high protein and low calorie diet. The same study then revealed that lean endurance athletes who consumed a diet rich in carbohydrates but without protein and calories were more sensitive to insulin than endurance athletes who ate a high protein diet, but without carbohydrates.
Which Is Better – Typical Athlete Diet Or Carb Cycling Diet?
How can this be? The insulin resistance may be caused by the fact that the carbohydrate intake is higher and the fat intake is lower. In order to reduce insulin sensitivity, you need to eat a diet low in carbohydrates, but high in good fats. The next time you go shopping look for food that is made from olive oil, avocado, sesame oil, olive leaf extract, nuts, seeds, olives and fish. These are foods that are high in good fats and should be an important part of your workout and diet menus.
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There is one thing I forgot to mention here. Many athletes mistakenly believe that just because they are eating foods that are high in protein that their body will burn the extra fat for energy. This is not how the body works. Instead of burning fat, the metabolism of the athlete’s body begins to burn muscle instead. It takes a lot more time for the athlete to build muscle than it does for them to lose it. This explains why many athletes have trouble putting on weight after they stop working out.
A common mistake that many people make is eating a big meal right before exercising. Just like the athlete with insulin sensitivity, the post-workout meal is not to be eaten immediately. You want to give your body time to digest the food, adjust its levels of glycogen and repair any damaged muscles. If you consume a large meal right before your exercise session, you could be setting yourself up to fail or to do more damage than good.
By far the most important aspect of any successful diet is choosing the right type of diet, one that provides balanced and complete nutrition. All athletes and weight lifters alike need to implement a diet high in carbohydrates, but low in fat. To do this, you must learn how to read a food label, learn about carbohydrate cycling and learn about ketogenic diet systems. By combining this knowledge with a proper training program you will be able to eat right and still gain weight and muscle.