Ten Rules of Athlete Nutrition

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    Ten Rules of Athlete Nutrition


    Athlete's Code of Life

    Rule One:

    Always eat breakfast. Breakfast will make you feel better; it helps you start your day with your metabolism in high gear and your appetite in control. Think of your body as a furnace that dies down during the night. If it isn't refueled in the morning the flame will burn out.

    Rule Two:

    Try to eat at least 5 meals a day. Two or three meals simply aren't enough. By eating 5 meals your energy levels will remain high, and you'll get protein in small amounts throughout the day to support growth and recovery. Yes, it will be difficult, but it is NOT impossible. Bring a couple of extra sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes or power bars with you as you go through the day.

    Rule Three:

    Use the 1-2-3 rule. In each of your 5 meals, approximately 1 part of the calories should come from fats, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from carbohydrates. Always eat a carbohydrate with a protein.

    Rule Four:

    Another thing to remember, whether you're trying to lose fat or add lean muscle, is to fluctuate your caloric intake. For example, if you want to lose fat, reduce your calories for two days, but then eat plenty on the third day. Follow these two days low with one-day high calorie fluctuation scheme throughout the week. This will 1) readjust your basal metabolic rate (the rate at which you're body burns calories at rest) upwards, 2) support lean tissue building, and 3) give you a psychological "lift."

    Rule Five:

    Drink eight to ten glasses of pure water each day. This will ensure you're replacing fluids lost during exercise. DO NOT wait until you are thirsty. By then, you are in a depleted state. Drink these glasses of water throughout a day's time, not all at once. Do not let dehydration limit your performance!

    Rule Six:

    Not all proteins and carbohydrates are equal. The protein in fatty meat and whole dairy products is much more difficult to digest (if your body digests it at all) as compared to whey and soy protein, lean white meat and fat free dairy products. The highest quality proteins are found in egg whites, whey protein isolates and soy protein isolates. There are many types of carbohydrates. Simple processed sugars, found in candy bars and sodas, will send your energy levels sky-high and then they fall to lower levels quickly. Complex unprocessed carbohydrates, found in grains, fruits, and vegetables will give you a more constant supply of energy until your next meal. Eat your fruits and vegetables.

    Rule Seven:

    Never go on a fad diet. If fat lose is needed, accomplish it through proper diet and exercise, never a fad diet.

    Rule Eight:

    Take daily multi-vitamins to ensure proper consumptions. Nutritional imbalances of athletes may need vitamin and mineral supplementation. A basic multi vitamin + vitamin C is a valuable insurance policy for most athletes.

    Rule Nine:

    Replenish your energy level through post-exercise recovery meals. Most post exercise carbohydrates should be complex with a low glycemic index. However small quantities of quickly absorbed carbohydrates of a high glycemic index will initiate muscle glycogen replacement and fructose will initiate liver glycogen replacement

    Rule Ten:

    Make wise food choices. When making food choices, stay away from foods that have been fried, canned, or processed. Examples of these choices are as follows:

    Choose This Food Instead Of This Food
    Baked Potatoes French Fries
    Boiled Eggs Fried Eggs
    100% Orange Juice Sunny Delight
    Steamed Brown Rice Cocoa Puffs
    Boiled Whole Wheat Spaghetti Spaghetti-Os
    Homemade Whole Wheat Brownies Little Debbie Cakes
    Homemade Food from Fresh Ingredients Processed Foods
    Fresh Fruit with its Skin Canned Fruit
    Water Sodas
    Oatmeal High Sugar Cereal
    Baked Potato Chips Fried Potato Chips
    Whole Wheat Bagels Donuts
    Ground Lean Steak Hamburger

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    I disagree with rule 6 a little bit. Soy protein isolate is not exactly "high quality". The bioavailability of soy protein is not very high and is much lower than chicken, turkey, or casein. Also, technically, salmon is a fatty meat, but in no way should eating any fatty fish be discouraged. One of the more underrated aspects of protein consumption is to consume several amino acid profiles everyday. I try to get 5 different sources everyday, which is usually egg, whey, casein, chicken, tuna, turkey, or beef.

    Also, fruits are not complex carbs; they serve a very vital purpose, but they are composed of simple carbs.

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