Nutrition for the Sports Enthusiast
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You are what you eat. This is especially true for athletes, because what you eat and when you eat can have a significant impact on your performance.
Not eating enough or eating too much can either leave you hungry or feeling too full and lethargic. Aim to have a regular-sized meal an hour or two before training. If you feel you need the extra energy, have some fruit, crackers or any carbohydrate-rich snack just before training. Carbohydrate-rich foods can be digested easily and will provide you with a quick boost of energy.
Your performance can be severely impaired if you become dehydrated. Try to keep hydrated by drinking regularly at intervals. If practice or training is intense or if the weather is warm, the need to replenish fluids increases. A sports drink is another way to keep hydrated and can help replace lost electrolytes.
Signs of dehydration are very subtle. Before you realise it, you could already be dehydrated. Some symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, thirst and dark coloured urine. When you experience any of the above symptoms, stop whatever activity you are doing. Sit down and start sipping water or a sports drink. If you experience difficulty in breathing, increased heart rate, light headedness, nausea or headaches, stop working out, replenish your fluids and rest for the day
Your body is most receptive to absorbing nutrients within 15 minutes after a work out. Try eating alight snack after practice or training to absorb vital nutrients needed for recovery.
The right diet will allow you to practice harder and longer, while recovering more quickly. The information presented in this article should only be used as a guide though. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor or nutritionist before embarking on any particular diet.