Nutrition Tips from Athletes of Different Disciplines
Nutrition is a vital component to athletic success, so who better to turn to for nutrition-related advice than athletes themselves. That’s exactly what we’ve done here, as we scoured various sources for athletes’ advice on nutrition. Here are four of them:
The Fittest Man on the planet credits nutrition as being a crucial part in him staying fit. But those expecting a complex, ultra-strict diet will be disappointed as Fraser surprisingly keeps things simple: “I just try to eat well,” explains Fraser in a GQ interview. “No junk food. No soda. It’s mostly meat, vegetables, and fruit.”
Notice, though, what Fraser consumes: meat, vegetables, and fruit. Notice, too, what Fraser doesn’t consume: junk food and soft drinks. So, even if the famed Cross-Fitter doesn’t follow a strict diet, he follows a plan nonetheless, which is to simply eat healthy. And for the most part, that’s good enough. Following Fraser’s advice will mean a steady stream of vitamins and minerals, which are nutrients that help the body function optimally.
Get Lots of Protein
If Fraser is the man at CrossFit, then Cristiano Ronaldo holds that distinction in football. And like Fraser, the Juventus star eats healthy. He focuses on getting in a lot of protein, with fish being his favourite source, as he shared in an interview with FourFourTwo. And other athletes need to take a page out of the Ronaldo diet because protein is the building block of muscle growth and is essential for muscle recovery. In other words, protein makes muscles big, strong, capable and helps maintain muscle mass as you age.
Mind Your Water Intake
Another athlete at the top of his sport is Novak Djokovic, who credits a gluten-free diet to his career resurgence, which has seen him rocket back to number 1 in the world rankings. He’ll be entering 2019 with lots of momentum, too, having won 2018’s last two Grand Slams. Small wonder that he has been installed by bwin as the heavy favourite to win the Australian Open, and one of the prohibitive picks to claim the French Open. Apart from going gluten-free, Djokovic is also mindful of his water intake, even advising everyone to drink water early in the morning. The reason, as Djokovic shares in his autobiography Serve to Win (a portion of which has been adapted by Eat This! Not That! in a feature on Djokovic’s diet), is thus: “I’ve just gone eight hours without drinking anything, and my body needs hydration to start functioning at its peak. Water is a critical part of the body’s repair process.”
The Djoker also advises against drinking ice water. As Djokovic himself explains, drinking ice water forces the body to send additional blood to the digestive system just to heat the water to 98.6 degrees. This, in turn, slows down digestion, and worse, diverts blood away from the muscles — something cataclysmic to athletes.
There’s a Price to Pay
Mo Farah is one of the best distance runners in the world, but even he admits to getting bored with the diet demands of being an elite athlete. He admitted it to BBC Good Food that it is the “price you pay for this sporting life.” Fact is, getting good nutrition entails plenty of discipline and sacrifices along the way. But if Farah got used to such a disciplined way of life, there’s no reason for other athletes to do the same. In this regard, distance runners should make it a point to complement their diet with hard training, like the four-week plan we recommended here in Tri-Adventure. Said plan includes recommendations on nutrition, too, underscoring its importance.
The importance of nutrition to athletic excellence can no longer be understated. It goes hand-in-hand with talent and training, and is an indispensable part of the equation. The challenge then is how to ensure good nutrition. The tips outlined here are a good start to that end, and any athlete will be best served keeping each one in mind.