Diet, Exercise and the importance of resting in 2021.
Diet is key to performance in sports, but what foods to eat to manage energy before, after and during physical exercise?
If in 2021 you have proposed to take on a sporting challenge or you are an amateur athlete and you want to improve your performance, start to exceed your marks, recover as quickly as possible, avoid injuries and be 100%.
Food and sport
Food before, during and after competition is one of the basic pillars for an athlete since both their performance and their achievements will depend directly on it. So, the first thing you should do is eat well.
Eating a balanced, varied, nutrient-rich diet that provides you with enough energy to cover all your needs is key to improving your performance in sport.
You must be aware that not everything goes in nutrition for sport! You have to eat fresh, seasonal foods that do not contain labels and avoid all processed foods such as refined flours, sugars, pastries, carbonated drinks …Which means that it is not enough just to look at the diet the day before the sports competition, which is what the vast majority worry about. This is not going to compensate you for the poor diet carried throughout the week.
An athlete should always eat healthy. For this it is essential:
Make a rich, nutritious and energetic breakfast that always contains these three food groups: dairy, cereals and fruit.
You have to eat varied and balanced, taking into account the type and intensity of the training and sport that you are going to do in the afternoon. It should be eaten in order to provide the necessary nutrients to maintain correct blood sugar levels and also to recharge liver reserves. For dinner, take those foods that help to replace the nutrients used and that allow to rebuild the structures damaged during the sport.
Hydration during exercise
In sports, a correct diet is as important as hydration. In addition to the recommended 1.5l of water daily, sports practice requires athletes to need to drink even higher amounts.
There are many benefits of sport in your body but, if we do not drink, the body reduces sweating as a protection mechanism and causes an increase in body temperature, fatigue, tiredness, cramps and, of course, a decrease in performance. So, drinking before, during and after the sport is mandatory!
There are many myths about hydration in sports, but it is true that it is extremely important to hydrate with isotonic drinks (commercial or homemade). We must make sure that its composition includes: water, sugar -glucose, fructose or maltodextrins- (6-8%) and electrolytes. Although above all sodium (450-900mg / l), since it is the mineral that most influences the compensation of sweat losses. An easy way to assess whether you are providing the correct amount of sodium is to observe that sweat does not leave white streaks on clothing. If so, it means that you need to provide more sodium to your body.
There are times when meeting the high nutritional requirements of an athlete is almost impossible with traditional food. The only viable way to achieve this is through supplementation. Or do you think a runner can eat a plate of pasta while doing a marathon? Or a cyclist one of rice on top of the bike? It is here, in full competition, where supplementation is essential.
Surely, there are many of you who already resort to gels or bars and you know very well which one works best for you. So, today I’m going to give you a more natural option: beet juice.
Recent studies were published where it was shown that a group of Tour de France cyclists had improved the functioning of their cardiovascular system and presented greater resistance to physical exercise. All this by drinking beet juice the days before the test.
And what is it about beet juice? Well, a large amount of nitrates and nitrites that are transformed into nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator that allows the arrival of more nutrients to the muscle and reduces oxygen consumption during sports.
And not only that, beet juice is also a great antioxidant. It is capable of counteracting the harmful effect of free radicals and reducing oxidative stress caused by exercise and sports.
Rest, key to perform at your best!
Training to the maximum the week before the test will not solve the miles not run or the hours not dedicated. The only thing it will generate is fatigue, the great enemy of all athletes.
Obviously you have to train in sport, but gently and without stressing the body. To improve your performance in sport to the maximum you need to rest. Getting a good night’s sleep the night before the competition is essential. Leave things prepared, go to bed early, sleep 8 hours and get up in time to prepare a good breakfast and go to the event without haste. It is very important to be successful!
Athlete stress management on many occasions, athletes with great digestive problems suffer (flatulence, gas, abdominal bloating, decomposition …) and this is nothing more than a reflection of stress.
The high degree of demand that is set in terms of results in sport and the high level of stress generated by the competition itself alter the intestinal microbiota and destroy all digestive defences. Initially, we can solve it with the use of probiotics that, obviously, will help to repopulate all that destroyed bacterial flora. But without a doubt, learning to manage stress is the only definitive solution.
In short, on D-day you have to be at your best and that means being: well trained, well nourished, well rested and above all believing in yourself. Good luck and good luck with that challenge!