Female athlete eating

How to... diet
like an athlete

Are you inspired by athletes in the Summer Games and their toned and tight bodies? Kick-start your diet plan with these successful tips.

Step 1:  Never skip meals

Athletes -- professionals and those dedicated amateurs in the Summer Games -- burn thousands of calories by training day in and day out. To perform best, they need to refuel constantly. Us average humans who don’t have an Olympic-style workout on a daily basis need to consume multiple healthy options. Many of us think skipping meals means fewer calories consumed each day, but skipping meals can lower blood sugar, which brings on cravings for high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods. If you fuel your body with small meals every few hours throughout the day, you will consume fewer calories than having two large meals or making poor food choices.

According to the creator of Body by Cindy Boot Camp, "If you’re not eating that much, your body isn’t processing the way it normally should. You need to eat every four to six hours even if you don’t feel hungry. You don’t feel hungry because you’ve trained your body to feel fine on not eating often -- it’s mental, not physical. Your body uses up all of its glucose within four to six hours. Because you haven’t given it fuel, it goes into shock and holds onto your fat because it doesn’t know when it’s going to get its next meal." Healthy snacks and meals every four to six hours will get you on the right track!

jump ropeStep 2: Sweat it out

A diet is one thing, but you can’t get your ideal body without a few sweat sessions a week. A good meal plan and a workout routine go hand in hand for ultimate results. We cannot expect to look like any of the athletes without putting in time at the gym. Combining weight lifting with cardio can increase a workout plan for maximum results. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the more your metabolism speeds up.

Step 3: Say no to the drive-through

We all have busy schedules where a fast dinner option sounds appealing. But with the bag of fast food comes guilt and empty calories, as well as saturated and trans-fats. The ingredients that come with a quick dinner do nothing but bad things for your body, actually setting back your diet and workout plan. Unless you are burning thousands of calories from running or squatting, the calories then turn to fat and sit tighter on portions of your body. To help with a busy schedule, take one day a week to plan or make meals for the week. This allows you to create healthy choices while sticking to portion control through containers.

Step 4: The power of protein

Athletes need protein primarily to repair and rebuild muscle that is broken down during exercise. Your body needs protein for developing bones and muscles, for healthy cell development and activity. Most women don’t know how much protein they need, or how to include the best protein in their diet. One main purpose of protein is muscle growth; the amount of protein women need is usually less than the amount of protein men need, and also varies by age, weight and activity level. For us women who want to tone up and slim down, the best sources of protein can be found in whole grains and low-fat dairy products rather than meat, to avoid high cholesterol and fat.

On the other hand, there can be too much of a good thing. According to Roswell personal training, "some people often get stuck in the thought pattern that the more protein they eat, the faster they will build lean muscle mass. This, however, isn’t the case. While you definitely do need to meet your protein requirements to successfully build lean muscle, if you take in more than you need, your body isn’t automatically going to make this into more lean muscle tissue. There is a limit to how much protein the body can use to help build lean muscle in any given day. Any more consumed over and above this will be converted to body fat or used as energy." One of our favorite sites, Women's Health, provides us with protein packed snacks that are sure to keep you satisfied!

More healthy diet tips

Tips for choosing healthy foods
22 Healthy high-protein snacks
Olympic star Kerri Walsh talks healthy living

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Comments

Comments on "How to diet like an athlete"

Jake August 21, 2012 | 11:06 AM

And lots of water! Even when you're not at the gym or working out, make sure you keep drinking water at regular intervals. It will help flush your system of toxins, and will get rid of any bloating. Plus, it will help when you start your workout if your body is nice and hydrated.

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