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The Top 4 Diet Mistakes Athletes Make

Healthy, nutritious food is the fuel behind every great sports performance. Eating well helps you build muscle, gain energy and perform at your best.

Diet trends can make it confusing about what foods are best for you. Following these diet trends might end up hurting your athletic performance and your health even though you are just trying to help your body.

At Bon Secours Sports Performance in Richmond, our registered dietitians assist athletes who need help eating for their best performances. Some of the most common mistakes athletes make include:

Not Eating Enough

Eating too many calories is the number one sin in today’s diet-obsessed culture. But as an athlete, you should never be afraid to eat, especially if you feel hungry. Eating enough calories helps you build and maintain muscle. Remember that calories are a measure of energy that food gives you. You need that energy to participate and excel in sports.

Not every athlete needs to eat as much as Michael Phelps, but you still need to eat plenty of healthy foods. Meet your energy requirements by never skipping a meal and incorporating nutritious snacks into your day.

Not Eating Enough Carbohydrates

Diets like Paleo and Atkins encourage you to cut way back on carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates. But carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. For athletes, especially those who perform aerobic activity for over an hour, the carbs in fruits and vegetables alone are not enough energy for a great performance.

If you are going to swim thousands of yards or run for miles and miles, you are going to need simple carbohydrates and their quick-burning energy. You’ll need to eat these carbs three to four hours before an event, throughout the event (in the cases of marathons) and every few hours afterward. Don’t forget that you’ll need to replenish your lost energy.

Becoming Dehydrated

Though you know you need to drink plenty of water during workouts or games, you may not be drinking enough after you exercise. Drinking plenty of water for hours after exercise helps replenish the fluids you’ve lost. Keep drinking up until you have pale or clear urine to ensure you are well hydrated.

Relying on Supplements

Athletes who eat enough calories form healthy foods should not need to use supplements. Eating a variety of foods from each food group helps your body receive all the vitamins and minerals it needs. You shouldn’t need pills or protein shakes to maintain a healthy body.

However, if you have a health condition or practice vegetarianism, you may still need supplements. A registered dietitian can help you determine what, if any, supplements you need for the best athletic performance.

Your size, sport and performance level all determine what diet is right for you. At Bon Secours Sports Performance, our registered dietitians help you create personalized nutrition plans that keep you healthy while letting you eat foods you love. A great nutrition plan keeps you healthy and helps you reach the next level of fitness and performance.

To start eating for better athletic performance, contact Bon Secours Sports Performance today.