Must have athlete diet list

A 90-minute rigorous exercise with high-intensity training that takes a lot of endurance requires a proper diet which can help you perform at your best and recover fast. If you are under the impression that it’s all about training and exercise, news flash: Diet weighs 70 per cent of the total nutrition. So here’s the must-have athlete diet list served from the experts at

Don’t Skip Breakfast

The most prominent mistake athletes or for that matter anybody does is to head out for a morning without eating anything. Your blood sugar is low as you wake up in the morning and hence a carbohydrate-laden breakfast is necessary. Eating a toast as soon as you get out from bed gives you a few good minutes before you go out for a run. Some people are not used to eating or feel nauseatic. A glass of apple or a berry juice before the workout can help you the best. Once your stomach adjusts, you can have a toast and head out for exercise. Protein is suitable for an athlete but early morning protein intake isn’t a good choice. Protein takes time to break down and hence you will have to give yourself more time before you workout.

Load Up on Carbohydrates

An athlete’s primary fuel is carbohydrates that your body changes to glucose and stores the excess as glycogen in muscles. While one works out the muscles, the stored glycogen is broken down into energy. THus enough carbohydrate is essential to prevent protein loss from the body and continue to build stamina.

Avoid eating starchy or sugary food before exercise as it speeds up dehydration. In case of long sessions, replenish carbs, water and required minerals. Drink fluid every half an hour and eat a snack.

Eat enough protein but not excess

Protein isn’t the powerhouse of energy but it is vital to maintaining your muscles. As per RDA, a person needs 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, an athlete might need up to 1.6-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight. That’s approximately 150 grams of protein for a 200-pound person. But excess protein can cause kidney load leading to dysfunction. For muscle recovery, milk is the best food source as it provides a functional protein and carbohydrates balance.

A low-fat diet

When your body runs low on carbohydrate, the stored fat is turned into energy. These stored fat reserves prove useful on occasions like marathons or heavy exercise. However, one has to choose their fat intake carefully. Saturated fats are hard to break down while unsaturated fats that come from nuts, olives, vegetable oils, avocados or fatty fish are recommended for athletes.

Note that an athlete must avoid fatty foods during an event to prevent stomach upset.

Hydrate yourself

On a summer morning, working out intensely can deplete the water reserves very fast. To avoid dehydration and hurt your performance, it is mandatory to keep your water intake in check. Several experts recommend athletes to drink fluids early and often. Stop forcing yourself to wait until you feel thirsty. It’s best to keep an eye on the colour of your urine and know its time for you to drink your liquid.  Dark yellow colour is an indication that you are falling short of water. An athlete should drink 8 to 14 ounce of fluid every 15 – 20 minutes during an event. A dilute sports drink will help you replenish the lost electrolytes during sweating.

Boost your immunity

A better performance requires better health which comes naturally from the immune system. You might keep a regular diet and well-balanced meal size, but the right dose of immunity is as important as staying hydrated. Our nutritionists say it is wise to incorporate whole grain carbs, colourful fruits, lean protein and vegetables in your diet. The more colourful your platter, the better. A daily multivitamin and a probiotic is essential as per doctors guidance. TO boost antioxidants add some walnuts and flaxseeds.

Keep a check on iron

Generally, it is noted that female athletes are deficient in iron which slows you down and increases the risk of injury. It is thus essential to include the wise amount of iron-rich products like spinach, iron-fortified cereals, oatmeal, turkey, red meat, quinoa, etc. in your meals.

Right recovery

After a workout session, your body needs to recover the lost muscles and reduce soreness. A proper amount of whey protein or chocolate milk 30 minutes after a workout is the best source of muscle recovery.