You are what you eat. The challenge for pro athletes is balancing their focus on their art form with learning to master extreme sports nutrition by eating energy boosting foods.
Knowing which energy boosting foods improve endurance and performance can be the difference between winning and losing. As a professional athlete, it’s your job to be in the very best shape in order to perform your job well. There are no day offs, no cheat days – you have to be at the peak of your physical strength and abilities. Food is the fuel that keeps your fine-tuned machine going. In other words, pros must learn what foods are the best fuel for powering their bodies or enlist the help of nutritional experts.
Energy Boosting Foods: Supercharged Foods
Professional sportsmen burn lots of calories and expend a ton of energy, therefore they need energy boosting foods to sustain their high activity level. Extreme sports nutrition is tuned specifically for high energy burners. It’s all about balancing out levels, low stress, high energy, and lifted spirits. The right fuel can help you stay on top of your game.
1- The Mighty Leafy Greens
Spinach, lettuce (stay away from iceberg, it’s mostly water), kale, collard greens etc. Greens are rich in folate, a mood enhancing nutrient and also folic acid, vitamin B, vitamin K. Chlorophyll – chemicals that make them green! – also work to cleanse blood vessels of impurities.
2- Whole Grains
Ancient grains such as quinoa (gluten free and a complete source of protein) and bulgur, oatmeal, and brown rice are complex carbohydrates. They are low on the glycemic index and are slowly digested by the body, keeping your sugar and energy levels stable longer.
3 – Super Fruits
Banana is rich in potassium and vitamin B, helpful in stabilizing blood sugar. Other super fruits include apples, figs, guava and the entire berry family.The vitamin C contained in these fruits gives you a natural energy boost you need and fortifies your immune system.
4 – Caffeine
Whether your morning pick-me-up is in the form of coffee, tea, or energy drinks, beware of added sugars and artificial ingredients. Supplement your energy levels in a healthier way.
5 – Nuts and Dried Fruits
A handful of mixes are packed with healthy fats, fiber, protein, and magnesium to facilitate energy production. Create your own to avoid the added sugars. Toss in some pumpkin seeds for an added boost.
6 – Protein Sources
White meats contain vitamin B and selenium while lean ground beef contains iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Non-fat dairy like greek yogurt and cottage cheese are a good source of lean proteins as well.
7 – Spices
Fresh and ground spices are rich in antioxidants and help regulate blood sugar and circulation. They also pack a powerful flavor punch to any meal.
8 – Legumes
Beans – black, kidney, pinto, garbanzo, even lentils. These energy boosting foods contain protein, fiber, folate and iron to keep you going.
9 – Chocolate
Everyone deserves a treat, and what better way to than in a couple of squares of dark chocolate (70% cacao and up). This tasty treat is rich in magnesium, fiber, iron, potassium, zinc, and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. We’re obsessed with it’s health and psychological benefits.
10 – Eggs
Which came first? No one knows, but we do know eggs are a good source of essential amino acids, vitamins B and D and are rich in collagen promoters (for healthy joints). They are a versatile staple.
When it comes to energy boosting foods, the pros’ best friends are complex carbs, protein and fiber. Fiber and protein help regulate metabolism, slowing down the release of glucose (energy!). In the world of extreme sports nutrition there is no such thing as a no-carb-no-fat-no-sugar diet. Learning to distinguish between good fats and bad fats, good sugars and bad sugars (hello, processed foods!) is essential to maintaining athletic performance.