A healthy diet for sport and exercising is not aimed at losing weight instantly, rather than making sure that your body gets all the needed nutrients and constantly scores a great shape. Indeed, a dedicated sport diet is only reserved for professional athletes, but its principles may come handy for those who train regularly and expect results. A spoiler: no starving required, only workouts and quality nutrition are what is asked of you. Here are some tips I’ve curated to help you along the way.
1.Make your meal ration varied
If you exercise regularly (and I hope you do), it is important that your ration is balanced and diverse. Take your time to adjust to new eating habits to avoid the stress of dropping your favorite (and I bet not the healthiest) products. To start, make sure your meals contain one of the following six groups of natural produce:
- Vegetables (including beans)
- Nuts, seeds and natural oils
- Unprocessed meat, fish and seafood
- Whole grains
- Natural dairy products
2.Do not starve
Your body should not suffer from lack of nutrients either before, during or after exercising. Use a designated app to count your individual amount of calories needed by following the 25-50-25 rule , where 25% of daily calorie consumption should happen at breakfast and dinner and the rest (50%) at lunch. If you have a specific goal of gaining muscle or losing weight, do not forget to count fibers, fats and carbs as well to avoid fiascos such as eating a baby french fries portion instead of a whole bowl of fresh salad (don’t try this at home, especially during the quarantine).
3.Create a meal schedule
Draft out a nutrition planning based on your daily timetable. Add a second breakfast or an afternoon snack based on when you usually workout, but remember not force yourself if you are not feeling hungry. Do not exercise an empty stomach (if you are not into fainting, of course). Better grab a high-protein dish 2-3 hours prior to hitting the gym or have light (and I mean light!) snack 30-40 minutes prior to sweating. Keep in mind that during 20 minutes after you’re done, a so-called post-workout (anabolic) window opens up and it’s perfect timing to consume protein and carbs (not fat!) to grow muscle.
4.Do not drop out on fats
Regardless of whether you follow a low-carb or a low-fat diet, you do not want to refuse fats completely. Better keep in mind that 30% of recommended fat consumption norm should be divided into 18% unsaturated fats (fish, avocado, nuts, sunflower, soybean, rapeseed and olive oils), 10% saturated fats and no more than 2% to trans fats. Surprisingly, but due to secretion of testosterone, fats play an important role in muscle growth, reduction of body fat and increase of strength and stamina levels.
5.Carb up your life
Do not neglect another very important nutrient, carbs. Hit on complex carbs (legumes, seedlings, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, whole grain cereals, bread, brown rice) before your training and treat yourself with some fat-free carbs after the workout, such as potatoes, pasta and fruits.
Our muscles are 75% made of water that comes out with blood, sweat and tears (while you exercise under my supervision). Although this was a joke, the important thing is that losing as low as 2% of moisture cuts the training effectiveness in four and drives to quick fatigue and loss of coordination. If you plan to ignore any of my advice, never ignore thirst! Fuel yourself up with 0.5 liter a few hours before sweating and try to drink water every 15 minutes during your training. After you’re finished, think of finding out how many grams you’ve lost and fill it in with the same volume of water.
7.Breakfast is King. Be (and like) breakfast.
It makes it easier to wake up if you anticipate tasty breakfast, since it gives you a necessary energy boost for the day ahead. Once again, remember to keep the portion individual and do not make yourself overeat. I suggest that a healthy breakfast consists of oatmeal or buckwheat porridge, omelet, wholegrain bread, vegetable salad, fruits, berries and farm dairy.
8.Plan out your menu
Whenever you sit down to (hopefully) plan out your exercising, take some time to plan your meals, too, to avoid hibernation in front of your fridge or cooking the same dish over and over again since you run out of inspiration. And, it can help you to save some budget, too – for a stylish fitness outfit, for example.
I bet you are already all-envious about your fit colleagues bringing lunch boxes to work while you are still addicted to take-aways. Just note that a habit takes only 21 days to settle and preparing food at home guarantees a needed calorific value and freshness of your meal.
Snacking is not a crime, especially if it contains apples, bananas, vegetable juice, fermented milk, yogurt or cottage cheese, which are basically the healthy products outlined above. So, now take a snack once finished reading and see you in the gym!