Sports Nutrition Mistakes – Many athletes have, often without knowing it, some bizarre eating habit. They can be simple cravings that spoil a good workout or major food disasters that harm our health.

What is certain is that athletes tend to create some somewhat strange eating habits, motivated by our concern about weight, energy, and performance. Sometimes we forget that a proper diet is a balanced diet, varied and consistent with our training. We find ourselves dragged into excessively restrictive diets that do not help us and can end our performance and, most importantly, our health.

We’ve together a list of some of the ”  nutritional prototype athletes ”  who create these bizarre habits. Far from making you feel bad, the most revealing thing is being able to realize what is preventing us from evolving in our training and taking action to correct the error. Only in the mistake is the opportunity to learn.

Do you identify with any? Let’s go for it!

1. THE “NIGHT DINING ROOM.”

Do you go hungry all day and stuff yourself with everything you catch at dinner time?

Eating little all day and turning “purple” at dinner is akin to refueling your car once you’ve reached your destination. Oddly enough, this is a widespread attitude among some athletes. We often starve ourselves all day to lose weight, but when we come home tired and hungry after training, we can’t resist the temptation to binge.

This ‘crazy’ distribution of calories can seriously affect your athletic performance. For the athletes of tomorrow, the damage is even more significant because their ability to recover depends on the food they are going to consume with breakfast and lunch. If you train in the afternoon , this type of diet means that you finish training with completely empty reserves or even that you have to stop your training earlier than planned.

*NEED TO CHANGE:

To maintain energy and blood sugar levels throughout the day, eat balanced meals containing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats without leaving more than 3 to 5 hours between them.
– Have two snacks each day (for example, a handful of hazelnuts or a piece of fresh cheese with toast).
– Plan your workouts based on meals or meals based on movements.  You must learn to know yourself, observe when it feels better to eat, and feel the expense and effort your training will require.

2. THE “BAR ADDICT.”

Energy bars may not intended to be the basis of any diet. Aren’t you abusing?

Many athletes take bars because they are an excellent way to find out exactly what they are eating: calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and even vitamins and minerals specified on the packaging. They think that this is the best structure to control their diet, but they forget about the benefits of whole foods. When processed foods displace natural foods, fiber and other health-promoting substances found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are lost.

You may also be ingesting some of the nutrients that most of the bars reinforce. For example, many contain 50% of the recommended daily amount of zinc. If you eat a few, it can cause a mineral imbalance.

*NEED TO CHANGE:

– Do not think that the bars can replace a meal since they do not contain the right spectrum of nutrients. They serve as an occasional snack before and after training.

– When you choose a bar, choose one made with whole foods (fruits, whole grains, nuts)  that do not contain “trans” fatty acids, which are very harmful to your cardiovascular health.

If you had to replace a meal with a bar in a hurry, make sure you accompany it with a natural food: a piece of fresh fruit, a yogurt, or a slice of cheese.

3. THE “JUNK FOOD FANATIC.” a Sports Nutrition Mistakes

Do you eat what you want because you think that training will keep you fit and slim?

Many athletes live unconcerned about the blunders of their diet. Others are aware but unable to change these habits, so they have convinced themselves that they can go far by eating everything or anything.

It is true that endurance athletes need a lot of calories and that it is not severe if you have a couple of cookies or a chocolate bar from time to time. But no one, no problem how hard they train, can survive healthily on junk food.

We know that breaking those bad habits can be very complicated. So forget it: in the machine in your office you will not find the nutrients you need to train at 100% and recover correctly.  It is best to end associations: “after running, I have a chocolate.” Try eating something else (for example, half a banana).

*NEED TO CHANGE:

– Maintain the balance between the foods you want and those you need. Build each meal around your needs and give yourself a little treat from time to time at the end of the meal. A diet that is too “clean” is also not convenient. You will end up falling into some great temptation.

– Replace your “food vices” with less harmful ones. If you fancy chocolate, you can eat chocolate-dipped strawberries. Have fresh cheese or a crunchy vegetable like carrot or celery dipped in yogurt sauce if you want a salty snack.

– Never eat junk food on an empty stomach. It’s almost a guarantee of a binge.

4. THE “PARTY JOCK.” a Sports Nutrition Mistakes

After a good workout or a good competition, do you reward yourself with a feast or a few drinks?

Interestingly, many athletes drink more alcohol than sedentary people. Be clear about one thing: no matter what you train for, the benefits of alcohol are…none.

Alcohol does not contribute nutritionally. Yes, now… the antioxidants in the wine, the hops in the beer… but no. Alcohol will never improve your health beyond a reasonable time of disinhibition, yes.

It harms health, especially in the case of athletes, who must be especially careful to maintain adequate hydration levels. The excesses of “Saturday night” are paid for the week’s rest. Don’t think that by training harder the next day, you will make up for a few too many drinks or a sleepless night.

*NEED TO CHANGE:

– Drink at least one glass of water for each glass of alcohol, this way, you will help your body recover.

After a training session or a competition, you should first drink water or an isotonic drink. Save the beer for later.

5. THE “FATPHOBIC.” a Sports Nutrition Mistakes

Do you think that fat will make you fat, so you shy away from it in any of its forms?

For every junk food addict, there is a fatphobic. Although it is scientifically proven that fat is necessary to stay healthy, many athletes consider it the number one competitor when staying slim.

” Good fats” lower cholesterol, assist in absorbing vitamins, aid in digestion, and regulate metabolism. And since your body will start to burn fat when your carbohydrate stores deplete, fat consumption is essential for endurance athletes. Not consuming a minimum of fat increases the risk of injury and harms your immune system.

*NEED TO CHANGE:

– Know the difference between fats that are good for your health (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega-3) and those that harm you (saturated and trans fats).

– Don’t go crazy with the percentages. Try to consume one gram of healthy fat per day per kilogram of body weight.

– Add good fats to natural low-fat foods that you regularly consume. For example, add a splash of olive oil to your salads.

6. THE ONE WHO “TRAINS EMPTY.” a Sports Nutrition Mistakes

If you think that training on an empty stomach will lose weight, forget it.

Many say they feel better training on an empty stomach, and others are early athletes who don’t feel up to getting up at odd hours to give them time to digest breakfast before training. But you don’t need to eat a lot to benefit from an energy boost. A slice of bread, a piece of fruit, or yogurt will help you train harder and improve faster.

But we insist: find out what works best for you and the type of training you will do. Studies on fasting and, lately, in particular, intermittent fasting show that it can interfere with sports performance; in some people

*NEED TO CHANGE:

-Do not obsess and use the same energy you put into not eating in discovering and observing how your body responds to food and fasting before/after training.

– If you train in the afternoon or at night, have a snack of between 60 and 100 g of carbohydrates about two hours before training. It’s as easy as eating a banana.

– If you run in the morning and solid foods get mixed up, you can take those carbohydrates through liquid yogurt, breakfast drinks, or sports drinks.

7. THE “PROTEIN FREAK.” a Sports Nutrition Mistakes

Do you think that protein is the power, so you devour it and forget about carbs?

Athletes need more protein than sedentary people since they are necessary for muscle building and recovery. But for this process, a relatively modest amount of protein is essential.

Beyond that limit, consuming more protein will not build more muscle or increase strength.  But the main problem for athletes is that they often consume at the expense of other much-needed nutrients, such as carbohydrates. Very excessive consumption can also damage the liver and kidneys.

*NEED TO CHANGE:

– Try to make your daily protein intake between 10% and 15% of the calories you usually consume.

– Space your intake to help you recover from training, consuming a snack after exercise that contains carbohydrates and proteins in a ratio of 4 to 1 (such as a turkey sandwich or cereal with milk).

– If you feel like snacking, turn to low-fat protein sources, such as tuna, chicken, or turkey breast.

8. THE “SUPPLEMENT ABUSE.” a Sports Nutrition Mistakes

If vitamins and minerals are good, the more, the better.

The supplement abuser feels the same way as the protein geek: he’s convinced that it’s never too much if one thing is good. But both vitamins and minerals are effective only in adequate doses and only when a deficiency exists.  Excessive consumption of supplements is not uncommon among athletes, which can cause health problems in large quantities, even more so if you take a lot of fortified foods and vitamin supplements.

*NEED TO CHANGE:

– Remember why they are called supplements: they come to supplement a healthy diet. They cannot replace whole foods.

With a multivitamin suitable for your needs, you will most likely not need any other supplement of this type. Consult your doctor, and explain what your activities are. Each individual needs a complex based on their characteristics and their needs.

9. THE “CHRONICALLY DEHYDRATED.” a Sports Nutrition Mistakes

Do you not drink during the day more than in the morning coffee?

We never get tired of telling you about the benefits of good hydration, but some athletes continue to behave as if they were camels. They drink after training when they are thirsty and forget to drink until the next training session. This way, they start all training sessions with permanent dehydration that impairs their performance.

Dehydration affects our body’s ability to get rid of excess heat generated by muscular work, so you will not be able to maintain the same intensity of exercise. If dehydration persists, you can suffer from serious health problems.

*NEED TO CHANGE:

– An hour or two before training, drink half a liter of a sports drink containing carbohydrates.

– If you are doing very long workouts, you should be incredibly attentive to your urine. You should have the urge to urinate at least once every three hours, and the color of your urine should be pale yellow.

– To determine your level of sweating, weigh yourself before and after a hard workout. The weight you have lost is the volume of fluids you must replace. If you have lost half a kilo, you should drink at least half a liter. Better to go over than to fall short

10. THE “RECALCITRANT HYPOCALORIC” a Sports Nutrition Mistakes

Athletes who spend much more than they eat.

There are two types of athletes in this section:

-ultra-endurance athletes who burn so many calories that they end up unintentionally losing weight

Athletes intentionally use training to lose weight by increasing training volume and cutting calories.

Stingy your body with the fuel it needs for its daily activities forces the body to enter a kind of ” cannibalism state” in which it uses its muscles for energy. This situation is counterproductive in the long term for your health and performance.

*NEED TO CHANGE:

– To lose weight, it is best to be aware, choose healthier foods, and eat small quantities throughout the day to keep the metabolism active. It is not advisable for an active woman to eat less than 1,500 kcal/day or for a busy man to eat less than 1,800 kcal/day.

Ensure

– Don’t think of food as calories, but as fuel. You can train because you eat, and you can eat because you qualify.

We hope that these “prototypes” have served you to, perhaps, reset some habits or patterns that you had acquired and are undermining your performance and, above all, your health.

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