How Nutrition Can Enhance Your Sports Performance

Eating a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet can help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, but your nutrition can also improve your sports performance. Consuming enough calories, carbohydrates, fluids, and protein can help you make positive gains in your chosen sport — whether you're a professional, amateur, or weekend warrior

At International Spine, Pain & Performance Center, our experienced team of sports medicine specialists are experts when it comes to creating the nutritional plan for you.

While an athlete still needs to consume nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables for overall health, athletic performance greatly depends on carbohydrates, protein, and fluids. Below, we’ll cover how each of these nutrients affects your sports performance.

Carbohydrates

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, athletes should consume half of their daily calories in the form of carbohydrates. Why? Carbohydrates provide energy during your workout. Without energy, finishing a race or running down the field can become difficult. Examples of complex carbs include pasta, rice, and whole grain bread. 

When you consume carbohydrates is just as important as which type you eat: 

If your workout was moderate, you may not need mid-workout refueling.

Protein

Protein is a macronutrient that supports muscle growth. Protein also helps your body repair body tissue. Studies show that eating enough protein also helps retain lean muscle mass while you’re trying to lose fat.

Healthy sources of protein include nuts, red meat and poultry, fish, beans, and nut butters.

Fluids

More than protein and carbohydrates, fluids are arguably the most important nutrient for athletes. Because you can lose several liters of sweat during an intense workout or game, the risk of dehydration is real. Dehydration can make you lethargic, irritable, and less likely to perform at your best. Not only does this set you up for less-than-optimum performance, but if your head isn’t in the game, you’re more likely to sustain a sports injury.

To stay properly hydrated, keep these tips in mind:

Avoid caffeine, alcoholic beverages, carbonated beverages, and “energy” drinks. Suitable drinks include water, sports drinks (which contain added electrolytes), and fruit juice. 

Not sure if your diet is on the right track?

As sports medicine specialists, we take nutrition seriously. Not only can the right nutrition help you perform better, but good nutrition supports your entire mental and physical well-being. When you opt for nutrition therapy, we take a look at your current diet, your overall medical history, your health and athletic goals, and your body composition.

Enhance your sports performance with nutritional therapy today. Call one of our three locations or visit our website to schedule your appointment with us.

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