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If you’re physically active, the right diet and proper hydration can greatly improve your athletic performance and exercise recovery.
Good sports nutrition fuels the sports performance potential and results that athletes of all types around the globe seek. Our orthopedic and sports medicine specialists can help you manage the ideal intake of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, supplements and hydration to help you reach your athletic goals.
Sports nutrition professionals help you to develop a custom-designed dietary plan focusing on optimal food types, energy sources, nutrients and fluids to keep your body performing at its highest level.
We work with patients and athletes of all ages and ability levels – from endurance competitors to weekend warriors to weight lifters to those looking to start an exercise and nutrition regimen.
If you’re interested in nutritionally managing an injury or performance concern and/or giving yourself an advantage, then see one of our sports dietitians for a sports nutrition assessment. This assessment will cover current dietary intake, exercise habits and future aspirations so that the sports dietitian can develop a personalized nutrition plan to help you improve body composition, boost energy and maximize performance results.
Optimal sports performance results from following a well-balanced diet every day to ensure you are getting proper amounts of macro and micronutrients. Timing of meals and fluids are also very important. Your plan will guide you when and how to make these tweaks to help you reach surpass your goals. The four basic components are:
Hydration. Water is the most important nutrient for athletes. You should drink at least two quarts (64 oz.) of water each day, and even more before, during, and after a competition or exercise. Sports drinks deliver electrolytes and are generally advised for exercise lasting longer than 1 hour. Your plan will recommend what’s best for you.
Carbohydrates. Aim to get 60% to 70% of calories from carbohydrates, as this is your body’s most important source of fuel. Carbohydrates can be found in foods such as:
Your body turns carbohydrates into energy (glucose) or stores it in your liver and muscle tissues (glycogen), giving you endurance and power for high-intensity, short-duration activities.
Proteins. You should get 12% to 15% of your daily calories from foods like:
Your body turns dietary protein into amino acids that enable your body to build new tissues and fluids.
Fats. Aim to get 20% to 30% of calories from fat. Focus on consumption of unsaturated fats (found in plant foods such avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils). Minimize intake of saturated fats (found in animal-based foods such as meats, eggs, butter, and dairy).
Include Omega-3 fats as much as possible, as these can help to reduce inflammation. Good sources of Omega-3 fats include fatty fish (tuna, trout, halibut and salmon), flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Your body uses fat for energy depending on the intensity and duration of exercise. Too much fat can be unhealthy, so it’s important to stick to your plan.
The timing and composition of your meals, snacks, and fluids are crucial for performing well at athletic events. Every athlete, from a novice to a professional, can benefit from the following tips:
UCHealth sports dietitians are highly trained in clinical nutrition, sports nutrition, exercise physiology and much more. They are experts in creating a specific sports nutrition plan for your specialized performance needs.
Our sports dietitians are comfortable working with athletes of all levels and in all areas of sports. They can help you treat nutrition as a fun and vital part of training and performance.