Your diet may be the missing link in your training plan. Here are some common nutrition mistakes that many athletes and exercise enthusiasts make that can negatively affect performance. (Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with the solutions, too!)|
#1: You Eat Too Little (or Too Much) Protein
Some athletes eat too little protein; others eat too much. Too little protein and your muscles can’t recover, repair and strengthen properly from hard training. Too much protein taxes your kidneys, leads to an excessive calorie intake (which can result in excess body fat), or replaces the other equally important foods and nutrients that are needed for optimal performance.
#2: You're Skimping on Iron
Iron deficiency causes needless fatigue and reduced performance and is particularly common among women who have heavy periods, participate in endurance events, and rarely or never eat red meat or iron-enriched foods (like breakfast cereals).
To enhance iron absorption, have a vitamin-C rich food at every meal such as orange juice, berries, kiwi, broccoli, tomato, potato and sweet bell peppers.
#3: You Don't Have Time to Eat After Working Out
At the end of a hard workout, remember that you haven't finished your training until you have refueled. Ideally, this should happen within the 30 minutes to 2 hours after your workout ends. Don't rush off to work or school, using the "no time to eat" excuse.
#4: You Skimp on Carbs
Recovery foods should offer a foundation of carbohydrates with protein as the accompaniment—not the other way around. The complete package is needed. You need to fill those glycogen (energy) stores with carbohydrates to fuel future workouts and repair your hard-working muscles with a little protein. One or the other won't cut it.
#5: You're Not Drinking Enough
To train harder and perform better, you need to stay well-hydrated. Losing just one percent of your body weight in sweat causes your heart to beat three to five more times per minute, thus creating even more fatigue during your workout or event.