Sports & Exercise Nutrition

Your Ultimate Guide to an Athlete Diet Plan!

If you are someone who enjoys staying fit and keeping your body in shape, you already know the importance of eating right. It becomes all the more essential if you are into high-intensity activities like running, in which case you need a runner’s diet plan. This includes planning your meals and making sure that you consume the right foods at the right times. This will not only ensure that your body gets the necessary cleanse but also will enhance optimum training and performance. 

It All Begins With What You Eat!

While you’re training, a runner’s diet is one that will ensure that your body receives a continuous supply of enough calories to keep your energy levels up. Thus knowing the foods that will complement this is important.

There Is No One-Stop Plan for Everyone

Every person’s body is different and thus responds differently. Therefore, copying one plan will not work. You have to understand your body and create an athlete diet plan according to your body’s needs. For activities like running, a special runner’s diet needs to be made. Athletes can follow successful athlete diet plans with different quantities of carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Choose the Right Kind of Carbohydrates

Most athlete diets focus heavily on carbohydrates, which are the primary provider of energy for the body. The Dietary Guidelines for a runner’s diet or a footballer’s diet recommend that you get between 45 and 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrates. Active athletes should aim for the higher end of this range. Rice, wheat, potatoes, and pasta, are all great examples of foods to incorporate in an athlete diet. Consuming carbohydrates regularly in your athlete diet plan is a great way to increase your energy levels. For a healthier lifestyle, consume whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, and don’t skip on your portion of the veggies as well. 

Shake Up Some Protein

When it comes to a holistic athlete diet plan, it is crucial to consume a balance of carbs, proteins, and fibre. The protein helps repair and grow muscle fibres during stressful physical activities. Protein foods entail lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy, soy, and nuts. Expert studies show that consuming between 0.55 to 0.75 grams per pound of bodyweight of daily protein intake is an essential part of a complete athlete diet.

Don’t Dismiss Fats

Fats aren’t always bad. They are a great source of energy and aide in the absorption of essential nutrition, especially during an athlete diet. Concentrate on getting monounsaturated fats into your body. These could be obtained by eating avocado, fatty fish, olive oil, and nuts. Eating the right kind of fat ensures your skin, hair, eyes, and brain cells get the essential nutrients for their healthy and robust growth. 

Chalk out an Athlete Diet Plan and Stick With It

Now that we’ve understood what to incorporate into the athlete diet, it is equally important to plan the meals accordingly.

Breakfast for an Athlete Diet

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially while on a runner’s diet. This provides you with the initial boost your body needs to keep you active throughout the day. Even if you are on a footballer’s diet, this can be pretty useful. Start your day with whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread and pancakes or oatmeal; eggs and lean meats for protein; low-fat dairy, such as milk or yoghurt, for calcium; and fruit for essential vitamins and antioxidants. Sweet potato, roast vegetables, and a lean meat sandwich are also great options. 

Munch on a Footballers Diet for Lunch

Don’t skip lunch, and make sure to eat a small portion before you work out. This will give your body enough energy. Stay away from fast foods like burgers, hot-dogs, and fries, but make sure your athlete diet plan is well-balanced with salads, soup, hard-boiled eggs, fruits, nuts, etc. You don’t have to eat a heavy lunch, which will make you sleepy and sluggish. But make sure that you’re consuming enough food to keep you going. 

Preparing Dinner for an Athlete Diet

According to a survey, a good, balanced dinner consists of 4 to 5 ounces of lean protein, a cup or two of green leafy vegetables, and quality carbohydrates, such as white or sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, or pasta. While you may be tempted to eat a heavy dinner, choose foods that can be digested with ease while you sleep. Space out your meals and make sure that you don’t end up stuffing yourself. Choose options like peanut butter, yoghurt, or fresh fruits. Making a smoothie with fresh fruits and vegetables can be both filling and healthy too. 

Important Notes to Keep in Mind

While it is vital to chalk out a plan on your own and put things in place, here are a few things you should keep in mind while building out your athlete diet plan.

Athlete Diet for Vegetarians and Vegans

If you are a vegan or a vegetarian then you need to plan your meals in such a way that you get all the nutrients that you would have been able to consume through meats and milk.  If not prepared properly, vegans and vegetarians are at risk of nutritional deficiencies such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, iodine, and vitamin D. Make sure you include foods like almond milk, chick-peas, tofu, brown rice in your athlete diet plan

Always Consult Your Doctor

Don’t turn your back on your doctor’s advice! Before introducing any supplements to your athlete diet, ask your healthcare provider. If you are into high-intensity workouts for sports like football, make sure that the supplements are of the highest quality. Certain supplements can help in glycogen restoration, boosting immunity, and muscle regeneration. One such supplement is whey protein. It can be added to water, milk, juice, or smoothies as a quick post-workout meal to help with muscle growth, especially for your footballer’s diet. You can also try consuming supplements for vitamin D, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, creatine, antioxidants, and collagen/vitamin C.

Stay Hydrated

Perhaps the most crucial tip when following an athlete diet plan is to drink more than eight glasses of water. Your body loses water in the form of sweat while working out. This needs to be replaced with fresh, clean water so that all the impurities in your body can be flushed out. 

Get With the Athlete Diet Program!

It matters not just how you exercise. What we consume becomes who we are, and finding the right balance of all the food elements is the least we can do for our bodies. But as simple as this sounds, there are many baseless nutrition tips and fads out there that can do more harm than good. 
Whether you are working out for that summer body or just to keep yourself fit, an online course can help you achieve your goals in the right way. Shaw Academy’s sports and nutrition course is packed with diet tips from trained professionals that will guide you on your daily mission to a healthy lifestyle.

For more information, click here.

Shaw Academy

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

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