Athletes, professional, amateur or aspiring are striving for a competitive edge, daily training, muscular breakdown and physical exhaustion requires a comprehensive meal plan to stimulate optimal muscle recovery and improved performance.
Ideally the majority of an athletes energy will come from whole foods, with the average daily calorie requirements ranging from 2400 - 3000 calories for men and 2200 - 2700 calories for women (further variations dependant on goal, weight, energy output etc), the amount of energy within a given food is dependent on the macronutrient content within (Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat).
- Carbohydrates (4 cal per gram) serve as the primary source of energy during activities of higher intensity. Healthy carbohydrate food sources include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals, breads and pastas.
- Dietary fat (7 cal per gram) also plays a key role in helping individuals meet their energy needs as well as supporting healthy hormone levels. Healthy sources of fat include nuts, nut butters, avocados, olive and coconut oils. Limit use of vegetable oils such as corn, cottonseed or soybean oil.
- Dietary protein (4 cal per gram) plays a key role in muscle repair and growth. Preferred sources of protein include lean meats, eggs, dairy (yogurt, milk, cottage cheese) and legumes.
Tips to well rounded sports nutrition
- Make a plan to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables daily
- Choose whole grain lower GI sources of carbohydrates, such as wholegrain pasta, brown rice etc.
- Consume an adequate amount of high quality protein such as grass fed beef, chicken, turkey, fresh seafood, tofu, legumes, eggs or nuts.
- Stay hydrated, a drop in as little as 2% in hydration levels can negatively impact performance.
- Stick with whole foods as much as possible as opposed to processed foods.
On the go eating
Peak performance during competition means eating nutritious food while traveling to various gyms for preparation or arena's, stadiums or other locations for game day, limiting the time for meal preparation.
Some tips for overcoming a potential roadblock.
- Stock up on some whole food snacks such as whole grain crackers, low fat cottage cheese, peanut butter or wholefood protein bars such as CMBT Reload Bars.
- light wraps filled with lean protein and vegetables.
- ready to drink protein powders, ideally organic, pea, brown rice or oat protein to avoid bloat and digestion issues good options include CBMT Reload
- Ready to eat meals, fresh meals that can be eaten cold and on the go, good options include Chicken Breast, Brown Rice & Vegetables OR Tuna with brown rice or wholegrain pasta
- Ready to eat meals Fresh or Frozen, that can be easily reheated at your destination such as Athletes Nutrition Meals