Many athletes do not understand how important the nutritional balance of their diet is to their ability to compete. Even professional athletes sometimes don’t realize the impact their eating habits can have on the success of their career.
It is not uncommon for a bodybuilder to take severe measures prior to a competition to lose weight fast to achieve a certain category for the event. This puts an incredible amount of stress on the body and may actually reduce his strength in the long run. A certain nutritional balance is necessary to build muscle. One of the best ways to avoid developing bad eating habits as an athlete is to keep a record of exactly what you eat and your caloric intake. In this way you can ensure that you attain the nutritional balance your body requires.
Catherine Jackson in her book “Nutrition for the Recreational Athlete” suggests that a high-protein diet can cause irritability and decreased stamina. This can have a detrimental effect on an athlete’s ability to train effectively and his or her career. Following the right food plan can keep this from happening. If you are noticing any of the following symptoms when you are training, it may be a result of an unbalanced diet.
Decreasing strength: Too little protein can have an impact on your ability to gain strength. Your source of protein should be from a variety of foods, such as egg whites, lean protein like chicken and tofu. The goal is to get enough protein in your diet and avoid unhealthy fat content.
Irritability and moodiness: Low blood sugar can cause an individual to feel irritable. If you are having difficulty concentrating it may be a result of insufficient carbohydrates. If you are experiencing either of these things during your training session try eating healthy carbohydrates throughout the day. Eating carbs at regular intervals helps to stabilize your blood sugar. Add fruit, vegetables and whole grains in limited amounts during the day.
More frequent illnesses: If your diet is not balanced and you are not getting sufficient nutrition, you will be more susceptible to colds and infections. This will have a negative impact on your workout routine. Make sure the foods you are eating have adequate amounts of minerals and B-vitamins. Food variety is very important to achieve this end.
Difficulty increasing speed or time: If you are trying to step up your exercise routine and can’t seem to get beyond a certain point, it may be that you are not eating enough prior to your workout sessions. Try eating a small serving of carbohydrates one hour prior to your session. This may be all you need to reach your training goal.
Loss of ambition: If your motivation to exercise is shrinking, chances are you are not taking proper care of your body. It is essential to eat enough and to get enough sleep when participating in a rigorous training program. Eat small meals throughout the day and get plenty of sleep and see if that doesn’t fire you up again. Many professional athletes eat something small every two to three hours. Keeping your blood sugar level on an even keel will help you keep up with the demands you are placing on your body.