An unplanned diet wastes the effort of a hard workout
An understanding of dietary sources of nutrients is integral to organizing and implementing a dietary plan. For many sports enthusiasts, whose motivation may be bulk strength and aerobic fitness rather than the elusive balance of health, diet may not be a pressing concern. In a televised interview, NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, known as "The Great One", told reporters that his key to playing a strong game of hockey was to consume four foot-long hotdogs right before each game. Athletics, while an opportunity for a quicker shortcut, aren't necessarily in the pursuit of health.
Ready, aim, eat!
The sports nutrition section of the large chain grocery stores stocks the standard display of protein powders for building muscle. While most sports have specific recommendations about what choices to provide the most support for the specific activity, many people are being misguided into overloading their diets with the magic food or supplement of choice, forgetting that the rest of the body relies on a wide variety of nutrients for daily functioning.
The body preforms differently during different types of activities, rerouting energy and micronutrients to cope with the different conditions associated with muscular endurance, cardio, or high energy sports. "Sports drinks", for example, are specifically targeting electrolyte loss, that occurs in high energy sports like cycling and running.
Omega-3 and iron for the long burn
Participants in endurance sporting activities tend to fill up on carbohydrates before exercising or competing, believing that carbs will provide them with a longer energy store than fats. Backed by the understanding that fats and sugars can provide only a short hard burn, endurance athletes also miss out on the omega-3s that are found almost exclusively in high-fat sources. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly useful in the reduction of joint and connective tissue inflammation.
It is also very important for people training in high energy sports to have a diet high in vitamin C, which is necessary for the absorption of dietary iron. Iron is vital to the body's ability to move oxygen through the body via the bloodstream.
Two keys to unlock your potential
This would suggest that while in addition to the daily regiment of health needs, an extra shot of orange juice right before a workout could go a long way to mobilizing the prepared resources. Lower levels of oxygen in the blood will make a noticeable impact on performance, strength, and response time. It will also increase recovery time.
For both omega-3s and iron, vegans and vegetarians are at a disadvantage, as typical recommended sources tend to list types of meat. Remember: flax, chia, and hemp seeds, as well as avocados, are excellent sources of the omega oils, but it is often recommended these healthy lipids should be included with every meal.
Sources for this article include:
About the author:
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. In 2010, Michelle created http://RawFoodHealthWatch.com, to share with people her approach to the raw food diet and detoxification.