It doesn’t matter if you’re a competitive athlete, practice yoga or enjoy a recreational sport — physical activity offers many health benefits. However, physical activity and nutrition go together if you want to maximize your workouts and improve overall athletic performance.
What you eat before and after you exercise daily significantly affects how you feel and perform during any activity. The right balance of micro and macronutrients to consume varies from person to person; however, everyone needs to get enough nutrition to maintain their health and optimize their athletic performance.
How Nutrition Impacts Athletic Performance
Ensuring you get the proper nutrition is important in maximizing your athletic performance. If you don’t consume enough fats, proteins or carbohydrates, you may feel fatigued and sluggish while working out or extremely hungry. Athletes also need specific minerals and vitamins to improve fitness performance, including zinc, vitamin D and iron.
The right nutrition for you is extremely personal. It can be helpful to work with a nutritionist or sports dietitian to ensure you get the right nutrition based on your activity levels and needs.
Proper Nutrition Supports Activity
While you may think about the benefits of physical activity and nutrition separately, some evidence shows that integrating these provides better results than just focusing on one.
Also, research has shown that exercise helps to inform food choices. People who exercise often make smarter choices regarding the foods they eat. Nutrition also helps support muscle recovery by helping to reduce inflammation.
Why Balancing Macronutrients Is Important
Consuming the right amount of macronutrients, which include fat, protein and carbohydrates, to fuel your body is essential to achieve superior exercise performance levels.
When fueling your body for exercising, you must find the right balance and timing for the macronutrients you consume. Your physical performance and recovery speed after exercising are improved when you consume the proper amounts of protein and carbohydrates.
What You Can Eat to Optimize Your Performance
You may hear the term “superfood” used in the food industry to try to get you to eat more of a specific food because it offers superior nutritional benefits or because it’s nutrient-dense.
If you want to increase your diet’s nutrient density, including some of these foods is recommended. These include eggs, leafy greens, turmeric, sweet potato and berries. These are all full of complex carbohydrates, protein and antioxidants, which improve athletic performance significantly.
Nutrition and Physical Activity Go Hand in Hand
When it comes to physical activity, your nutrition matters. If you aren’t eating the right types of foods in the right amounts, you won’t be able to optimize your performance when you play a sport or engage in any type of physical activity.
If you’re unsure how to optimize your nutrition, work with a professional. You can also use the tips and information here to help you get started.