If you're an athlete, then it is in your blood to strive to become a champion. Practice and training time are imperative to reach these goals. However, diet is an often missed component of athletic performance.

Without the necessary nutrients in your body, you'll have difficulty reaching your athletic potential. Your diet helps fuel your practices and workouts, plus it is critically important to recovery.

Here is what an athlete's diet should look like to maximize training success.

Pile on the Protein

Athletes exhaust huge amounts of vitamins and minerals. While distance runners burn the highest number of carbohydrates, every athlete who engages muscular activity burns protein. Protein is one of the key building blocks for muscle.

To play like a champion, your body needs a solid supply of protein. You can get this from various meats. If meat isn't on your preferred menu, go with at least three meals with fish as the main entrée. Salmon is an excellent choice to maximize your protein supply.

Can't Forget the Carbohydrates

Your body uses carbohydrates as an energy source. Runners require an abundance of carbohydrates to maintain endurance for long-distance events. However, every athlete requires the fuel supplied by carbohydrates.

Weight training efficiency is reduced dramatically when the lifter is starved for energy. Protein is rightfully a point of focus in an athlete's diet, but you cannot forget the carbohydrates.

Since carbohydrates turn to fat second in line behind only to fat calories themselves, you need to eat carbohydrates that your body uses efficiently. Whole-grain foods are the most obvious choice.

There is a reasonable amount of carbohydrates in certain vegetables. Other foods for athletes to get the most from their carbohydrate foods are bananas and brown rice. Bananas also boost your electrolytes for faster recovery.

Mom Was Right, Eat Your Greens

Vegetables are full of minerals and nutrients that an athletic body requires. Certain vegetables such as peas can also boost your protein slightly. Be mindful that like carbohydrates and proteins, certain vegetables are more efficient than others.

Cruciferous vegetables are a great addition to any diet, especially an athlete. Foods like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower can actually burn a small number of bad calories while supplying your levels of vitamin A, K, and B6.

Greens also provide an excellent source of low-fat calcium, plus iron. Both of these help to battle post-game or post-workout inflammation. If you want to go green all the way in your diet, there are certain vegetables that are better than others for adding protein.

Salads are a staple for many athletes. However, a problem can arise in relation to the number of lectins you eat. Lectins are notorious for reducing the effectiveness of many nutrients. One problem for athletes is that many high-protein food sources also have levels of lectin.

But, you might ask, does spinach have lectins? Spinach is a frequent substitute for many high-protein sources like legumes and nuts. It is revered as a solid diet replacement when you're trying to adhere to a lectin-free diet.

Filter Your Fat Intake

Your athletic body may be equipped to burn away fat, but why make it waste the time and expend the energy doing it? Keep your fat intake in moderation. Nutritionists refer to them as empty calories. A key to look for are foods with lots of sugar or sweeteners.

Be aware that sports drinks, while packed with useful electrolytes, are loaded with sugar. We're not saying to go the rest of your life without an ice cream cone or a slice of apple pie. However, do your best to filter your fat intake to make the most use of every calorie in your diet.

The athlete pushes his or her body to the ultimate physical level. You train hard and you play even harder. You need a diet that fuels, heals, and builds. 

Follow these dietary guidelines for eating like a champion, so you can become one.


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