The Dos and Don’ts of Sports Nutrition
Whether you’re just starting out and want to get it right from the get go or you’re looking for an increased edge in your performance, sports nutrition could be the answer. Sports or exercise nutrition is a specialised area of nutrition focused on improving performance and is based on the fact that what we eat can help us build strength and endurance. Here are the dos and don’ts of sports nutrition.
DO: Start with Proper Nutrition
You have to make sure that your day-to-day nutrition is solid and sound before getting started with fancy sports nutrition, otherwise you will waste both your time and money. Cut out all processed foods, fizzy drinks, sugar-laden products, and eat a balanced diet with plenty of water.
DON’T: Waste Money on Protein Shakes and Supplements
Many sports nutrition companies will try to convince you otherwise, but the truth is that you don’t need protein bars, shakes, and supplements to achieve results. As long you eat balanced meals and snacks before and after your workouts, you should get in all the nutrients and protein you require.
DO: Eat Carbohydrates
When we advise to eat carbohydrates, we are not referring to white bread, white pasta, white rice, and sugars, but to rather consume whole grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, and legumes. Cutting out carbohydrates in its entirety is not advised when trying to gain muscle mass, as if the body cannot use carbohydrates to create energy, it will turn to protein next which could decrease your muscle gain significantly.
DON’T: Use Exercise as an Excuse to Overeat
It’s tempting to fall into the trap of using exercise as an excuse to eat whatever you want, whenever you want – particularly when enjoying online blackjack Canada, but this will not help you achieve your goals. Of course it’s natural to feel hungrier than usual when you increase your exercise regime, but it’s important to stick to your eating plan and only eat well-timed meals and snacks.
DO: What Works for You
The fact that there are no ‘golden rules’ for sports nutrition can be discouraging to some, as there are only guidelines for what to eat when and how much, but each person’s body is different. As such, it’s important to take time and experiment with what works for your body and how it affects your performance, especially for endurance events that require you to eat during exercise.
DON’T: Try Too Much Too Soon
Many people when starting out will attempt to completely makeover their eating and exercise regime all at once, but this is not a good idea. While the intentions are good, it may leave you feeling overwhelmed and could lead to giving up entirely. Focus on a few small changes, monitor how it affects your performance, and slowly included additional changes to ease into the process.
DO: Have a Goal
Being goal-orientated is a good way to increase your chances of sports nutrition success as you will always be working towards something which acts as motivation. Start with small goals such as losing 5kg or running 5km, and work your way up from there.
DON’T: Give Up
Nutritionally speaking, training can be unpredictable – you will have good days and bad days. Things that work at first, may not work well over a longer period of time and you will most likely have to change your plan as you go along. However, it’s important to not get discouraged and to keep going as change is the only constant.