Training in the Kitchen: A Nutrition Guide for Elite Athletes

Nutrition can be the determining factor between a gold and silver medal. Elite athletes train year round to reach their maximum potential in the peak of their season. A balanced diet is good not only for physical shape but mental as well.  For a complete training regiment, follow a few simple tips.

Calorie Intake

The correct calorie intake is determined by ones’ metabolism and activity level. This is an important number for elite athletes mainly because failure to hit this number can cause the muscle tissues to break down and up the body percentage number.


Carbohydrates are a main source of glucose, a nutrient that fuels the body. They aid in muscle recovery and increase endurance. A snack containing carbohydrates is a great pre-work addition because it provides an immediate source of energy.

Sources: Sweet potatoes and whole grains


Protein creates amino acids, which aid in repairing muscles and tissues.  It is important to take in proteins at breakfast when your metabolism is just starting out for the day.

Sources: Lean beef, beans and eggs


Fats are the most calorie dense food. Their slow digestion process makes you need less in your diet. Some fats are “heart healthy” and help with circulation.

Sources: Nuts and fish


Dehydration can lead to cramping and a slow metabolism. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration. You should begin hydrating four hours prior to activity.  Water should be consumed during activities lasting no more than one hour. During any activity over an hour sports drinks are recommended to replenish electrolytes lost during activity.  Post activity, athletes should continue to consume liquids on a regular basis.

Pre-competition meal:

Contrary to what many athletes think, a pre-competition meal is the not the most important for a peak performance.  Eating right 1-2 days before competition is just as important. A big meal the night before a competition can cause an athlete to overeat resulting in digestion problems. The ideal time to eat before a competition is 3 to 4 hours prior.

 Post – workout meal:

This meal is just as important as fueling up before a big game. It allows your body time to readjust and figure out what it needs to be healthy again. Meals 2-3 days after a big competition replenish the body with nutrients lost during performance.

The Most Important Tips for Elite Athletes:

  1. Variety: Make sure you are eating different foods from all the food groups.
  2. Wholesomeness: Eat foods closets to their most natural state
  3. Moderation: You can have any food as long as you eat the correct portion size

To learn more about your nutrition needs as you train, perform and recover from physical activity, sign up for your:  Sports Nutrition Free Report.

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