At Herbalife Nutrition, I work with some of the best athletes in the world and help them improve their performance through good nutrition.
Whether judo, swimming, or any other sport, there are some standard pillars of sports nutrition that we focus on, and then some specifics for each sport. There are also some common nutritional mistakes we try to avoid:
Eat all protein, not carbohydrates.
Many athletes make the mistake of thinking that they should only eat protein and avoid carbohydrates. Focusing solely on protein isn’t the best way to build muscle. For better results, protein intake must be combined with enough high-quality calories from carbohydrates. The body uses protein more effectively when carbohydrates are available. Carbohydrates are also important to replenish glycogen stores. This goes for all athletes, but for endurance sports like swimming or triathlon, carbohydrates are even more important – make sure you consume 30-60g per hour.
You don’t know when to choose a sports drink over water.
While water consumption should be the priority, there are times when our bodies need extra sugars and electrolytes to maintain energy levels and fluid condition during exercise:
· Water is the preferred fuel for hydration when athletes are doing light exercise. Typically, light workouts under 30 minutes don’t require a sports drink.
· If the body is exercising or exercising for more than 30 minutes, an athlete’s body needs the electrolytes from a sports drink to replenish the fluid lost through sweat.
The timing of their workout supplements is not right.
It is important to consider not only what supplements to take, but also when to take them.
Pre-workout: give yourself a boost by taking a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine. Caffeine stimulates your body’s metabolism, which in fact helps maintain focus and reduce fatigue. Aim for this pre-workout about 15-30 minutes before your workout
· During Exercise: During exercise, you should stay hydrated and energized, so look for sports drinks with a good amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes! Electrolytes can replace valuable nutrients such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium that are lost when you sweat.
· Post-workout: The post-workout diet serves two purposes: to refuel the material that has just been burned and to prepare for the next workout. Therefore, athletes should rely on a combination of protein and high-quality carbohydrates. Regardless of the sport, consume at least 20g high-quality protein in combination with carbohydrates. For weight training, you want your post-workout shake to have a 1: 1 ratio of carbohydrates and proteins, while for endurance sports you would prefer a 3: 1 ratio.
No matter what kind of sport, a high-quality diet supports your training and helps your body to perform at its best!
Try for the ultimate sports drink Herbalife24® CR7 drive, aims to provide three necessary components for optimal athletic performance: improved hydration, metabolic support and energy. CR7 Drive is part of the Herbalife24 sports nutrition line, a comprehensive performance nutrition line that supports athletes around the clock. Without artificial flavors or sweeteners, lightly flavored and formulated for optimal performance, it provides your workout with improved hydration, metabolism-supporting vitamin B12 and energy. Developed in collaboration with Cristiano Ronaldo and Herbalife nutrition experts.
Dana Ryan, PhD, MBA MA, is the Director of Sport Performance, Nutrition and Education at Herbalife.