Food as Fuel

by Bea | February 16th, 2010 | Eating Tips

We all know that what you eat affects your athletic performance. It seems like common knowledge that eating a diet based on potato chips and soda is not going to get you very far– although I have seen an athlete win medals on a Pop-Tart and chocolate milk diet. It is important to fuel your body with the right fuels.

Carbohydrates are the best source of fuel. Foods high in carbohydrates and low in fat are going to be your best friend. Your body stores excess carbohydrates as glycogen, and this is what your muscles use when energy is needed. Some great sources of carbohydrates are cereals, breads, vegetables, pasta, rice and fruit. If you do not like to get your carbohydrates from food, you also can drink your carbohydrates in sports beverages or fruit juices before you exercise.

People always say that you should consume proteins to build your muscles. Well, although this is true, you do not have to have a diet that is heavy in protein. Protein is not your body’s food of choice for fueling exercise, but you do need it to for muscle repair and growth. Some good sources of protein are meat, dairy products, and nuts.

Fats are good, too! Fats can be a source of fuel for your muscles during your exercises. The best type of fat comes from unsaturated fats from foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, and fatty fish. Just make sure that you only eat these foods after or well before you exercise.

You should learn to stay away from foods high in fiber and fructose right before an intense workout, as they probably will cause some problems. Why? Well, foods containing a lot of fiber, such as beans and lentils, bran cereals and fruit, could cause gas or cramping while fructose can increase the tendency for diarrhea with high-intensity exercise.

Foods are an important part of your diet if you are an athlete. Without the right foods, you make be weak and not live up to your full potential.

Comments on Food as Fuel

All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.