So you read our last blog and became S.M.A.R.T. at setting your New Year’s resolutions. And even though the gym has by now emptied out of all the resolutioners you first saw on New Year, you’re still consistent and getting your workouts in regularly. Congrats! Now it’s time to optimize your diet so you can get even more out of your workouts.
It Starts With a Healthy Diet
While individuals that regularly engage in exercise may have some special needs for optimizing their nutrition, they still should start with having a diet that is generally healthy for an average person. So regardless of performance goals, just about everyone (including athletes) should aim to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, lean protein and maintain a healthy body composition. So with that out of the way, let’s move on to some specific considerations for those engaging in physical activities.
Stay Hydrated, My Friends
The first specific consideration for high cardio activities would be greater hydration. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 17 fl oz 2 hours before training, and drinking water as needed during training. But there is more to hydration than simply water. There are also electrolytes, which are essential nutrients like potassium, chloride and sodium that are lost through sweat. So consider electrolytes-rich drinks or tablets as part of your hydration strategy as well.
As mentioned above, an overall healthy diet is the foundation for anyone, including athletes. Nonetheless, here are some of the nutrients we suggest is of particular importance to physically active individuals:
Protein – exercise helps to build muscle. So help your muscles by consuming more protein from lean sources such as chicken breast, sirloin and cod. And aim for at least 0.55 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Unsaturated fats – good sources of fat found in fish and nuts deliver heart healthy nutrients to help further the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic training. So supplement your marathon training with a side of our Cilantro Pesto Salmon to really help get your heart pumping.
Calcium & Vitamin D – like 2 peas in a pod, both these nutrients help your bones adapt and get stronger to handle the heavier weights you’re lifting. These two nutrients can be found in dairy foods or fortified plant milks.
Iron – necessary for energy metabolism and the body’s transport of oxygen, vigorous physical activity fastens the depletion of iron. So resupply your iron stores with animal meats.
Written by: Vinh Pham
Vinh holds a degree in Nutritional Science. Having learned the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, Vinh’s goal is to educate others on proper health and nutrition. When he’s not working for MOS, Vinh likes trying new foods, hitting the gym, and eating his vegetables like a good boy.