Olympic Nutritionists Share Diet Tips with Fitness Magazine
Fitness Magazine got the chance to sit down and talk to the experts about the most useful ten diet tips that can help you get stronger, faster, and fitter than ever before.
Well, same old story guys! Breakfast still remains the most important meal of the day. “One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is heading out for a run in the morning without eating anything first,” says Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, director of the Laboratory for Elite Athlete Performance at Georgia State University in Atlanta, who works with Olympic distance runners and oversees the nutrition program for U.S. Figure Skating.
And another crucial thing that we tend to omit is water. “Drinking water while you work out is great, but if you start your race on empty, you’re never going to finish as strong as you want. Athletes should be consuming .5 to 1 ounce of H2O per pound of body weight every day,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research for Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix, Arizona, who regularly consults with Olympic contenders and pros.
“The more color on your plate, the better,” says Beth Duryea, head soigneur for the Specialized-lululemon women’s cycling team. She reveals that “One of the best things you can do to better your performance is to stay healthy, which means that you need a good amount of antioxidants and superfoods in your diet.” Besides, she encourages all of the riders to incorporate whole-grain carbs, lean proteins, and colorful fruits and veggies into their snacks and meals every day.
Planning ahead is another important step. This is what sports dietitian Alicia Kendig, athlete performance lab coordinator at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says. Kendig suggests you do your weekly meal plan on Sundays. She recommends to prepare healthy snacks and meals that you can easily grab throughout the week.
Okay, so this one might be a big surprise for many women who have tried loads of diets throughout time, but experts advise us not to diet. “The biggest nutrition mistake I see female athletes make is reducing and/or limiting their caloric intake in an attempt to be lean,” says Scott. “This causes reduced stores of carbohydrates in your body, which are essential for training and performing, and can then lead to muscle breakdown, as your body eventually starts to use protein as an alternative fuel source.”
On carbs, Benardot says that when you have too many at once, our body cannot use it all and therefore it stores any excess as fat. “You need to focus on your nutrition every day, and then the night before is a good time to simply top off your fuel stores,” Carlson-Phillips says.
Read more useful diet tips and discover a day in the eating life of an Olympic cyclist on fitnessmagazine.com.