Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of an athlete's career. Still, many athletes do not realize the importance of this or they're just simply clueless about the subject. Not knowing anything about nutrition will lead to bad habits that then result in an unsuccessful career. Take for instance bodybuilders who take weight loss to the extreme before a competition. Extreme weight loss produces a lot of stress on one's body and this can lead to a difficulty in increasing muscle mass and strength over the long-term. Nutrition simply is eating the right food, at the right amount, and at the right time. Knowing this is not enough, you also need to practice it. This entails you to strictly monitor and record your food and calorie intake and abide by nutritional principles.
Catherine Jackson, author of the book "Nutrition for the Recreational Athlete" explains that following a very strict, high-protein diet often leads to irritability and reduced endurance. Avoid the pitfalls of a poor diet by eating enough calories and selecting the right foods. You can avoid the pitfalls of poor nutrition by making sure you're not experiencing any of the following through your training program:
Get enough protein from a variety of sources – Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and so a low level of it will lead to decreased strength. Make sure to get proper amounts of protein in your diet. It would be ideal if you were getting your supply of protein from a variety of sources. Foods rich in protein are meat, chicken, egg, milk and soya – based products.
Being moody and irritable -A moody and irritable athlete will not be able to focus during training. Moodiness and Irritability is actually thought about by low blood sugar. This can be interpreted as a sign that you're not eating enough carbohydrates. If this is the case then you can stabilize your blood sugar level by eating small amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains through the day. Do not forget about protein as it also reduces your blood sugar absorption rate.
Getting sick more often – not eating a varied diet can make you prone to developing a cold or infection, which makes it very difficult for you to maintain a consistent workouts schedule. Getting a cold or catching a flu that does not go away could also be signs of a weakened immune system; make sure you're getting enough B-vitamins and minerals from a variety of foods to stay on the right track.
Decreased speed – if you've been focused on increasing endurance but can not get past your usual times on the treadmill or during your sprint sessions, you may not be fueling up properly before your workout. Some athletes do not eat anything for 2-3 hours before their workout, but if you're looking for ways to increase energy for speed training, you'll need to eat some type of carbohydrates at least 1 hour before your training session.
Loss of motivation – Losing drive is often a sign of exhaustion. Proper diet and nutrition and enough rest will bring back your initiative in no time. Make it a habit to eat small meals over the course of a day. Eating three big meals in a day causes an erratic energy supply causing energy highs and lows. On the other hand, distributing your food intake through the day stabilizes your energy level. Successful athletes are generally known to eat at 2-3 hour intervals.