The saying “you can’t outwork a bad diet” still reigns true, especially for athletes. For athletes, it’s more difficult because it’s not just the specific macronutrients to eat but also the timing of eating to optimize training & performance. Any athlete’s meal plan should consist of nutrient-dense foods but the percentages of carbs, fats, and protein can vary depending on the sport and the individual.
The main macronutrient necessary for all athletes is carbohydrates, being as this is the body and brain’s main energy source so it’s almost never recommended for an athlete to do any type of low-carb diet due to the lack of glucose stores necessary to perform at their highest level. Low-carb diets often lead to micronutrient deficiencies, so cramping and muscle fatigue is more common and can hinder progress and performance. The best carbohydrate sources are whole grains, brown rice, fruits, & vegetables. Protein is also optimal for athletes for its ability to repair and replenish muscles and that it can be used as an energy source if glucose stores run out. Protein percentage is typically 30% of the athlete’s total caloric intake and can be obtained from lean meats, lean dairy products, fish, and eggs. Fats are also usually 30%, depending on the athlete, and include foods like olive oil, seeds, and avocados.
The best way to optimize performance on game days or for a performance is to never experiment with new foods, stick with something that has worked in the past & make sure there is a post-workout meal or plan to aid in recovery as soon as possible. Looking for help creating your new diet? Speak with one of our certified personal trainers!