Over the next couple of weeks, some of the world’s greatest athletes head off as the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs enter into the NBA Finals. Besides dedication and training, athletes require proper hydration and nutrition to perform at their best. Without balanced meals, adequate hydration, and eating the right types of energy-boosting foods, athletes can become sluggish, suffer from poor concentration, and may become tired very quickly – all of which can and will affect their game.
Athlete Diets: The Importance of Hydration
When you’re dehydrated, your blood volume shrinks, which makes it difficult to regulate your body temperature and get blood to vital organs and muscles. To compensate, your heart starts racing, causing exhaustion and a significant drop in athletic performance. Additionally, dehydration can cause muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
It’s not enough for athletes to drink water and sports drinks while they’re playing or exercising. In order to maintain hydration, athletes must prepare for dehydration by consuming 17 to 20 ounces of water or sports drinks several hours before a competition. During the game, they must continue to hydrate as the body loses vital moisture through sweating and physical exertion.
Athlete Diets: Balanced Meals for Energy
Without proper nutrition, athletes can suffer from poor performance, longer recovery times after injuries and intense training sessions, weight gain and weight loss, and an impaired immune system. Eating a balanced, healthy diet complete with energy-enhancing foods customized to support their particular activity is extremely important for athletes who want to perform at peak level.
All in all, athletes’ performance is as affected by what they put into their bodies as it is by training and practice. Without the basics – hydration and nutrition – all the practice and training in the world would not help athletes reach their full potential.