For sports stars, healthy eating is par for the course. Power up your summer workout routine with the following tips for preparing food like a pro athlete.
It’s an exciting time for professional sports. The Warriors just swept The NBA Finals, NFL players are headed back to training, and the rest of the world is succumbing to FIFA World Cup fever.
Competition and fandom aside, watching these athletes in action can be a cause for great concern. How in the world did he get that body? How often does he work out? And how LITTLE does he eat?
Don’t be intimidated—be inspired
As you bemoan the fact that you’ll never have that 6-pack, let alone fit into your skinny shorts, let’s take a minute to think positive thoughts. The summer season is in full swing. It’s time to take stock of our eating habits and how they may be affecting our workout routines (or lack thereof).
So while you sit back and prepare to watch the game with your greasy burger and calorie-packed brew, consider the following dietary tips taken straight from the pros. These athlete-inspired cooking tips and recipes remind us that even an office worker can make smart meals to supplement their other weight loss measures.
How do pro athletes fuel their bodies?
In order to sustain such demanding training and game schedules, athletes follow a number of dietary rules. Nutrition is everything. If you’ve ever encountered a CrossFit fanatic or similar gym enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of macronutrients or ‘macros.’
When it boils down, this fancy term refers to the most important energy-related nutrients we take in: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. You want to strike an ideal balance, which varies depending on your gender, age, weight, etc. We’re going to skip the finer details and cater our advice to a general audience—you know, the average Joe and Jane.
Working out not only requires energy but also does great damage to the muscles. The body needs the right nutrients to be able to recover quickly for the next session. Therefore, it’s important to eat smart and eat often. To maximize your performance, you should never deny your body what it needs to survive and thrive.
What are some dishes eaten by professional athletes?
As you take your exercise routine into overdrive for the summer, try out some of these delectable recipes that are low in calories but high in healthy fats, carbs, and proteins.
Breakfast of Champions
Experiment with these scrumptious dishes for a morning pick-me-up or pre-workout energizer. Breakfast meals should feature lots of immune-boosting fruits, vegetables, 100% whole grain cereals or breads, granola, nuts, seeds and other healthy carbs and proteins.
Instead of the same old boring protein powder, give your morning a healthy boost with a homemade smoothie. First, chop up some pineapple, apple, and beets, toss in the blender, squirt some lemon, and add a frozen banana or low-fat yogurt for texture (optional).
Since beets get your blood moving and pineapples support bone health, they’re a winning combination if you’re headed out for a long day at the beach, park, lake or other action-oriented destination. They also taste delicious.
Photo: Brooke Lark, Unsplash
Why limit yourself to the typical breakfast fare? Skip the cholesterol-packed eggs and fill up on a healthier, heartier dish that’s simple to prep and brimming with protein.
The salad mixes up albacore tuna, avocado, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes and quinoa for some essential carb action. Toss with your choice of light dressing or oil for extra flavor.
Lunch Like the Pros
To get over the afternoon hump or to expedite your recovery after a grueling gym session, give these nutrient-packed meals a try. When preparing lunch, make sure to incorporate plenty of protein. Hard-boiled eggs, cheese and (smart) sandwiches are always a great choice to keep you fueled before Dinner.
For athletes who exercise in the morning, a nourishing lunch is imperative. It’s during this time of day that your muscles are recuperating, so the food you take in should support the process to ensure you maintain maximum strength and endurance in the long run.
Choose a high-quality protein like grilled chicken (which is also low in calories), dice up some tomatoes, chop up some artichokes, and finish things off with minced garlic, basil, parsley and a base of light mayo or mustard. Remember: the average person wants flavor in addition to sustenance, so don’t short yourself the liquid pleasure. Toss and roll like a burrito in a whole wheat tortilla.
Photo: Sara Dubler, Unsplash
Dinner for Endurance
Keep your responsible eating habits going strong by finishing up with a medal-winning supper. Olympians often eat boneless, skinless chicken breast, water-packed tuna, shrimp, lean beef, as well as healthy starches to nourish their bodies before sleep.
When asked about his diet, Michael Phelps once said he loads up on carbs for dinner. We’re embracing pasta as our main course with this fabulously filling recommendation.
Our spaghetti bolognese includes grass-fed beef, chopped spinach, fresh basil, onion, tomatoes, grated parmesan cheese and a big bowl of your favorite pasta. If you’re watching your carbs, you can always substitute a lighter whole-wheat pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini.
Enjoy the sports excitement this summer! Don’t forget to stick to your diet