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Elite athletes are always interested in ways to maximize their performance, whether in the gym or on the field. They know that maintaining top-notch competitive success hinges on proper nutrition. 

Without providing your body with the fuel it needs to perform, you cannot expect your body to continue to achieve at its highest levels.

These athletes (and their trainers) know that many studies have proven protein is essential for taking your body's performance to the highest level. 

Protein can increase muscle output while performing, resulting in increased muscle mass and strength. Additionally, protein consumption is essential for muscle recovery, getting you back in the game as quickly as possible.

Which diets do world-class athletes follow to compete at the highest levels? Diets that focus on providing the protein bodies need to be strong while eliminating dietary elements that detract from elite performance.

Keto

The ketogenic diet (keto for short) is a plan that focuses on low-carb, high-fat options while providing high levels of protein to increase satisfaction and muscle performance. 

By replacing carbohydrate foods with high-fat options, it puts the body in ketosis, a state of fat-burning that promotes high energy levels and significantly lowers blood sugars. 

The diet is simple to understand: limit foods that are high in carbs like sugar and starch and replace them with foods that are high in healthy fats like avocado and eggs.

Getting started on a Keto diet can be challenging, simply because so many of the foods Americans love are loaded with carbs. 

One way to ensure a successful start is to participate in a Keto Challenge, where you join other people looking to make the same healthy change that you are. 

Challenges can provide information, support groups, camaraderie, and perhaps even a prize at the end of the challenge period.

Paleo

The paleo diet attempts to replicate the diet of hunter-gatherers during the paleolithic era. This diet focuses on animal proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. 

It eliminates processed food, grains, sugar, and most dairy. The emphasis on meat ensures a high protein diet, allowing athletes to build the muscle mass that they are looking for to set them apart in their sport.

To get started on the Paleo diet shop the edges of the grocery store, focusing on the fresh produce and meat departments and avoiding the middle aisles that often house the processed foods and high carb choices that you would like to avoid. 

By increasing your protein intake and eliminating grains, you will see a change in your body composition that emphasizes the muscles you are working hard to build.

Mediterranean

The Mediterranean diet is modeled after the much-admired diets of the Mediterranean countries of Greece, Italy, Spain. lt eliminates processed foods and encourages fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. 

While less focused on red meat, the diet does encourage lots of fish and red meat in moderation. The emphasis on heart health has been linked to improved performance and the benefits of including fish in your diet are well known.

To try this diet stock your kitchen with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables and be sure to include them with every meal. 

Try to eat fish as many days each week as you can, including flaky white varieties and cold-water fish that are full of Omega 3 oils. 

Do not think that eating Mediterranean is a license to eat pasta with every meal; carbs and processed foods are limited in this plan.

Anti-Inflammatory 

When the body is inflamed it cannot perform at its peak levels. An anti-inflammatory diet eliminates foods that cause inflammation in the body and create energy and strength instead. 

Tom Brady famously followed an anti-inflammatory diet to keep him playing professional football well into his forties.

To lower inflammation and improve performance, limit or eliminate processed foods, dairy, red meat, alcohol, gluten, and sugar from your diet. Instead, focus on eating lean proteins and healthful fruits and vegetables.

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Elite athletes know that what they eat impacts their performance on the field. Follow one of these diets to improve your own performance and start performing to the best of your abilities.

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