The summer holidays are a period in which we all relax enough on the subject of food: it is very normal to go out one day and another also with friends to take some canes accompanied by some tapas, to dine outside, to have a drink On a terrace … And so, when we return to our obligations in the month of September we usually do it with a few extra pounds.
Eating a balanced diet when we are on vacation, even when we are athletes, is not so simple. That is why with the beginning of the new course it is important to resume a healthy diet that will help us to return to our best form and maximize our workouts. This is what athletes eat after the summer to regain their weight.
For amateur athletes, which is the case of the vast majority of us, the training season ends in June or July and we resume it in September. This is especially noticeable in the case of the runners : running in the summer outdoors becomes very hard, and many prefer to rest their legs in the summer months and until the return to school.
Already back to the routine, in the month of September or October, the athlete needs to reestablish his diet to regain optimal weight and a body composition suitable for the type of sport he is going to practice. You need to have a weight and muscle mass that allows you to perform more in training, not that it is an obstacle to achieve your goals.
Planning is paramount, for the elite athlete and for us
So much for the athlete that aims to win a competition as for us, the amateur athletes , planning is basic to be able to return to routine after the summer break days.
In the case of the elite athlete, the diet is structured around the main competition of the season . So, if there is a time when workouts are harder, we will be sure to have enough energy through food. In the case of an era with a lower workload, the caloric intake of the diet also declines and the macronutrient requirements change.
In the case of the amateur sportsman , we can take this planning to our terrain to help us get back to the routine. A simple way to leave behind the excesses of the summer and to resume the good habits is to plan in advance all the meals of the week , to make a list of the closed purchase and to go to the market or supermarket only once a week.
Carbohydrates, the basis of the sportsman’s diet
One of the most important macronutrients in the athlete’s diet are carbohydrates, as they represent their greatest source of energy to cope with workouts. It is not that we have to do much to precisely include carbohydrates in our diet, since they are present in plenty, but we must concentrate on these carbohydrates come from sources of quality.
Whole grain cereals and flours are always a good option to get energy that we can use in the long term: when verifying that it really is whole foods we should always read the labels of the products. As Lucía Martínez explains in her blog Tell me what you eat , “rich in fiber” does not mean “integral” in the case of pasta, and the whole meal with which the breads or cookies are made should not have a presence lower than 75%.
Other sources of carbohydrates in an athlete’s diet are fruits and vegetables that should be eaten with skin as far as possible, and always whole (not juice, when fruits lose all their fiber and we lose the feeling of satiety produced By chewing). Some of the most common fruits in the athlete’s diet are bananas, citrus fruits and kiwis.
Proteins, essential for our muscle mass
The proteins are one of the biggest concerns for all athletes, who in most cases are wondering if consumed enough for caloric expenditure. According to the World Health Organization, the amount of daily protein consumed by sports adults is around 1.5 grams per kilo of weight , something quite simple to get through the diet.
Again, the important thing is to go to sources of quality protein . Although we may have the idea that the athlete’s diet is based on chicken breast or turkey grilled or boiled, the truth is that the variety in food is much larger, especially if we think we can use Many healthy cooking methods (steamed, papillote, baked, in the microwave …).
In addition to turkey and chicken we should give a chance to both white fish and blue fish (salmon, tuna, sardines …) and other types of meat like rabbit or veal.
Protein shakes, when to take them?
One of the most frequent questions when people start or go back to workouts is whether to take protein shakes , so “fashionable” in some settings.
First of all, we should know that protein shakes are just that: protein powder, usually extracted from milk (although we can also find protein powder for meat or soy protein), which can be added flavorings. They are not another type of substance and certainly not steroids or doping substances.
In the event that through diet we can not reach our nutritional needs, we can take some protein supplement, such as a smoothie. It must be clear that these shakes are supplements and not substitute for meals.
Fats are also needed: Choose the best
Fats are the third macronutrient and are important to the athlete because they are also a good source of energy when it comes to training. Lipids, in addition, perform hormonal functions such as regulation of metabolism, and are necessary to assimilate some vitamins (fat-soluble). Eliminating fats from our diet is always a mistake.
As always, what we need is to choose healthy sources of fat for our organism: olive oil, nuts or avocados are very present foods in the diet of athletes, especially with the intention of achieving energy in the long term. We must take care of the amounts we consume, since fats have a higher caloric intake than the other macronutrients (9 kcal per gram versus 4 kcal per gram of protein and carbohydrates).
Some small tips
- Prioritises food versus processed products
- Cook at home whenever you can
- Try to include fruits and vegetables at each meal
- Always stay well hydrated with water
- Give the importance they deserve to pre and post-workout food