As an ex professional basketball player I was always told eat whatever you want because you practice a lot and you will burn whatever you eat!! That’s a well-known word for all athletes but is that true? Are athletes allowed to eat all things in all timings? Does food affect the athlete’s performance and fitness curve?
After I studied for years and became a specialist in athletic nutrition I can clearly say HOW AN ATHLETE EATS IS WHAT DETERMINES HOW WELL HIS ATHLETIC LIFE WILL BE.
Food has a direct impact on athlete’s behavior, mood, injuries, sleeping pattern, recovery process and general fitness curve.
What we as nutritionists focus on when it comes to athletes is how to provide the athlete with their daily needs of micro and macro nutrients.
Macro nutrients includes protein fats and carbohydrates, while micronutrients are minerals and vitamins.
Let’s just simplify things without going back to science, every nutrient has a direct impact on a thing in your athletic life. Let’s start with carbohydrates it has the main role in providing the athlete with energy. Proteins are responsible for renewable of damaged cells therefore it plays a major role in recovery and building muscles, healthy fats found in olive oil, almonds, avocados and many other foods can also lead to a good absorption of vitamins and providing the body with long term energy and a higher focus level.
While handling the nutrition of Zeina Mickawy the junior squash team world champion, we noticed that her performance increases when she was fulfilling her nutrients through the day as well as her injuries became much less since we started working together, less inflammation and less mood swings as well.
Each and every single player has his own needs depending on so many factors such as body type, injuries history as well as healthy life background, but all player should be surrounded by the same lifestyle when it comes to nutrition.
Several meals spreading all over the day with a post and pre workout meal every single workout, what does the meal contains? and what is the priorities in food? that’s what differs from a player to another.