Foods Athletes Should Avoid

Regardless of the exact sport, there are several foods that athletes should avoid to ensure maximum efficiency on the court or field. These foods have poor nutritional qualities or high caloric levels that are inappropriate for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy, high-functioning body.

Food 1: Pasta Made with Refined Flours

Pasta made with refined flour is a poor nutritional choice that athletes will not commonly add to their meals due to the many health issues associated with high-carb diets. In addition, pasta has a lot of calories that can lead to weight gain. For obvious reasons, athletes will want to maintain their weight, which can help protect their bodies’ joints from damage during physical activity, for example.

Food 2: Sugary Boxed Cereals

You’d be hard pressed to find boxed cereals in the kitchen cabinets of athletes, especially those catered to a younger audience, i.e. Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc. Rather than eating this unhealthy food for breakfast, an athlete should make healthier cooked oats with nutritious fruit such as raisins or berries, or perhaps a vegetable omelette.

Food 3: High-Sodium Canned Soups

Most canned soups are high in sodium and other preservatives, making this option a bad nutritional choice for an athlete. Consuming a lot of salt can reduce an athlete’s level of performance because it can cause a number of serious health issues including, but not limited to, high blood pressure, kidney damage, and cardiovascular disease.

Food 4: High-Fat Meats

Meats high in fat can, obviously, cause a severe decrease in athletic performance. Athletes often look for leaner meats such as chicken, turkey, or most seafood to protect the body’s cardiovascular system. Additionally, athletes would be wise to cut off the excess fat from poultry, beef, or pork.

Food 5: Ice Cream

While ice cream and most junk foods are not harmful in moderation, consuming these products immediately before or after a game can be. A standard serving size of ice cream contains high levels of fat along with several tablespoons of sugar. Eating this several times a week can lead to not only weight gain, but an increase in cravings for sugary foods in general.

Food 6: Microwaveable Popcorn

Most brands of microwave popcorn contain artificial ingredients such as preservatives, sodium, fat, and sugar. While plain popcorn has only a few calories, microwaveable popcorn with excessive amounts of butter is often processed with several substances. Preparing air-popped popcorn for a snack is a much healthier choice, especially athletes.

Advertisements

Fighting Constant Hunger and Maintaining Fitness

It isn’t something many people are proud to admit, but the average caloric intake of Americans today is 20% higher than it was in 1970, and more often than not, our average meals greatly exceed those of other countries in terms of size. So, why is it that many of us are so hungry so frequently? While excessive eating could certainly be a factor, it’s excessive snacking that seems to be our nutritional downfall.

According to personal trainer Sam Wood, there are various reasons why many people find it difficult to suppress their appetites throughout the day. From a sociological standpoint, we’ve been conditioned to believe that more is better when eating. Our average portion sizes as Americans are much larger than what is recommended by health professionals. Even worse, the actual food on our plates is not always what our bodies need.

One prominent issue that has taken the dietary world by storm is the notion that highly caloric foods are unhealthy. Believing this eliminates healthier fats and great sources of protein from one’s diet, seeing as both have higher calorie contents. Carbohydrates are another group of important nutrients that have been cast in a bad light as well, albeit they should be complex carbs and not processed. Complex carbs come with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The goal is to feel comfortably full for as long as possible. Healthy fats, foods rich in protein, and complex carbs will do just that.

The time of day at which you eat could also be beneficial (or detrimental) as well. For example, intermittent fasting allows you to eat all your daily foods within an 8-hour window, thus preventing you from snacking late at night, or eating too early, then feeling hungry again before 10:00 a.m. Though this may sound challenging, there are some helpful rules to abide by:

  • Never eat when bored or due to emotions
  • Meal prep
  • Grocery shop once a week
  • Shoot for 21 meals a week

Sticking to one strict routine can prove challenging. Don’t feel as though this is the key to optimal fitness. Changing it up can actually be highly beneficial. For example, some of the most common breakfast foods include bagels, cereal, white toast, etc., all of which are high in carbs that lead to you quickly feeling hungry soon after. More filling foods like eggs, greek yogurt, quinoa can have you feeling fuller longer, while also giving you a protein boost early in your day.

Finding a diet that works for you is exactly that; one that is personal. Results will more than likely vary from person to person, but following these general guidelines could be very helpful.

Why Fitness Enthusiasts Should Embrace More Seafood

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

When it comes to packing a powerful protein punch, seafood is the way to go. This is especially important for those who consider themselves fitness enthusiasts. Seafood provides the right nutrients to not only prepare a fitness lover for a rigorous workout, but also help them in being able to recover faster. There are several reasons why those who hit the gym need to embrace more seafood in their diet.

Seafood is Versatile

If someone is looking for a quick and easy meal after the gym, seafood is the way to go. Salmon can be easily grilled or baked. Shrimp can easily be sautéed. There are countless more options for fish as well that can be quickly prepped. Seafood doesn’t need any added fillers or toppings. To complete a meal, all that needs to be done is a sprinkle of seasoning or a squeeze of lemon. That’s good news for those who are also trying to watch their weight.

Great for Recovery

If someone has just had a rigorous workout or done a run, seafood is the perfect aid in recovery. It will help prevent sore muscles. That’s because seafood is packed full of muscle-building protein. After hitting the gym, a person’s body craves fuel. Seafood is healthy fuel. It also contains antioxidants to fight against inflammation and is rich in vitamin D. Seafood is a one-stop shop for what a body craves after a workout.

Fish is Good For the Brain

Studies have shown that fish is great not only for helping sore muscles but also boosting brain power. Fish, such as salmon and tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids which not only improve brain function but also supports overall heart health. The omega-3’s have also been shown to boost mood and lower chances of depression.

A runner or any sort of fitness enthusiast can’t go wrong with incorporating fish into their diet several times a week. If a runner is in a time crunch, a quick snack such as a bag of tuna can do the trick. Fish doesn’t have to be prepared intricately in order for a fitness enthusiast to reap the benefits. That’s part of the appeal along with all of the wonders that it can do for overall health and performance.

Why You Should Eat After a Workout

Avid exercisers and fitness enthusiasts alike fully understand the importance of working out and balancing one’s diet accordingly. It is a waste to spend hours in the gym only to eat unhealthy foods immediately afterward, effectively undoing every calorie burned and muscle groups built. In order to reap all the benefits of your workout, a proper, nutritious diet both before and after is crucial.

Upon exercising, the human body requires assistance in restoring its normal levels. Your muscles are depleted of glycogen, which they use for fuel. Proteins often become damaged or torn as well, and heal much faster with nutritional support. Because of this, carbs and proteins are some of the most beneficial food groups you can consume after exercising, enhancing your body’s recovery period.

Aside from proteins restoring amino acids and building muscle tissue, carbs (contrary to popular belief) are a great post-workout food group. That is not to say that you should eat a loaf of breading after benching 200 pounds, but rather seeking out smarter sources of carbohydrates, like certain types of fruits, rice, milk, or sweet potatoes.

For individuals who prefer cardiovascular workouts like running or swimming, more carbs may need to be consumed to compensate for the intense output of energy. Insulin secretion is increased when both carbs and proteins are consumed, which aids in the production of glycogen.

Completely shying away from fats after a workout can actually have detrimental effects. A common misconception is that fats prevent certain nutrients from being absorbed, when in fact studies have shown that whole milk, for example, actually promoted protein synthesis more than skim milk. While this is certainly not to say that you should eat a large amount of fatty foods after exercising, consuming a moderate amount will not affect your recovery in a negative way.

There exists a window of time in which you should eat after a workout as well. Though you may not have an appetite immediately after, eating a combination of carbs and proteins as soon as you can is best, typically within 45 minutes of ending your workout. This is because of your body’s rapid attempt to restore glycogen levels, which dwindles as time passes. Waiting to eat recovery foods results in a lower rate of glycogen synthesis.

When all’s said and done, you have a large number of options in terms of what exactly you can eat after exercising that will aid in your body’s recovery. Great carbohydrates to eat include whole or 2% milk, quinoa, sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, and dark green vegetables. Some of the best proteins to eat are eggs, salmon, chicken, and tuna. Lastly, one can find healthy fats in avocados, almonds, and other dried fruits and nuts, so don’t think that you are limited in the foods you can consume after a workout.

Originally posted on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com