Whether you're a recreational athlete or a competitive one, you need the right foods to fuel your physical activity.A healthy diet and the right amount of fluid are keys to good performance. That's because food provides the energy your body needs to work. The more active you are, the more energy you need to stay active.
Calories provide that energy. Serious athletes need more calories and fluids than those who are less active.
The best diet for you depends on:
- the kind of physical activity you do (A marathon runner has different food needs than a weight lifter or weekend jogger.)
- how long and how often you work out
- your size and weight
Although the same diet won't work for everyone, there are some general guidelines useful to all. One is that you build your diet around a variety of healthy foods. No "magic" food or diet will turn you into a super-jock.
Another is that, for the active person, carbohydrates and water are the rule. In fact, about two-thirds of your calories should come from carbohydrates. Picking healthy carbs, found in fruits and whole grains, are best for your overall diet.
With all the sports nutrition advice out there, it's not uncommon for experts to disagree. But avoiding fad diets and foods, and sticking to the basic rules should keep you out of trouble.
If you have nutrition questions related to a specific sport or training routine, consider talking to a qualified trainer or sports nutrition expert. You also can find books dedicated to the sport or activity you're interested in.
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