What does it take to be the greatest athlete that you can be, for your health and lifestyle? What does it take to nourish your body while training so you can not only have the body you have always wanted but so you can also perform at your peak?
The Greatest Athlete challenge kicks off this month which may motivate you to start getting in shape.
Whether you want to compete in the actual event or just try to be the best athlete you can be, we have some tips to help you while you are training for any athletic event.
Fuel your body
As your training routine begins, it is essential to nourish your body and fuel your engines with nourishing wholefoods. What are wholefoods, you ask? Wholefoods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. This means they are rich in all of their key nutrients and our bodies are able to absorb all of their nutritional benefits. Eating a wholefoods diet limits your intake of chemicals, refined sugars and refined simple carbohydrates which offer little to no vitamins, minerals or sustained energy. These common ingredients cause oxidative stress on the body. These dietary inclusions will see you training harder than ever before and will enable you to live a nutritious wholefood lifestyle that will create a healthy relationship with food for life.
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Essential wholefoods to nourish your body while training
Complex carbohydrates are essential for energy production in the body. It’s common for people to avoid carbs at all costs, but they don’t realise that carbohydrates are essential and are responsible for producing the energy that makes our eyes blink and our hearts beat. Essential inclusions are seeds like quinoa and amaranth as they are high in protein, complex carbohydrates and a wide range of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids which are perfect for sustaining energy levels when tackling the obstacle race.
Hydrate. Many people consume high amounts of sports drinks, caffeine and energy drinks — which are high in sodium and refined sugars — to enhance their performance while training. This depletes the body of key nutrients like your B complex vitamins which are essential for energy production; they also dehydrate the body, causing oxidative stress. A better option for a performance drink is coconut water. Coconuts are rich in key electrolytes and have high amounts of magnesium and potassium which are essential for energy production and supporting the nervous system while hydrating the body for long periods.
Protein: the essential building block of our body. It’s very common for people to eat a diet high in animal protein while training but this causes an acidic environment and inflammation in the body. A better alternative is pea protein which offers around 20 grams of protein per serve, heart healthy plant sterols and a pH level of 7.5. This provides the body with the essential building blocks it needs and also assists in creating an alkaline and anti-inflammatory environment which is key for optimal muscle repair.
How much protein do I need?
Are you meeting your daily intake of protein? Many people are not and this is why they are experiencing those mid-morning crashes, afternoon cookie jar binge fests and night-time ice cream runs. When your diet is rich in lean protein, the body burns carbohydrates slowly for sustained energy release, providing that feeling of contentment. When training for an athletic event, it is essential to be meeting your recommended daily intake of protein as this helps with muscle repair and growth and protects the body against oxidative stress.
For women aged 19 and over, the recommended dietary intake is 46 grams of protein per day. During pregnancy, women need 50 grams of protein per day and women who are lactating need 60 grams of protein per day. When training for an athletic challenge, your daily RDI for protein is increased to 1.4–1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, if your weight is 50 kilograms you would require 70 grams of protein per day while training.
For men 19 and over, the recommended dietary intake is 54 grams of protein per day. When training for an athletic challenge, your daily RDI for protein is increased to 1.4–1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, if your body weight is 70 kilograms you would require 98 grams of protein per day while training.
Best sources of protein
The following animal and non-animal protein sources are all nutrient-dense and will support optimal muscle growth and muscle recovery while maintaining your recommended daily intake of protein.