How to Eat For All-Day Energy And Athletic Performance
The human body needs energy to perform its functions. A person’s physical activity level varies from being sedentary (not moving at all) to moderately active (moving around). Some activities require less energy than others.
There are several types of exercise that provide varying amounts of energy: aerobic, anaerobic, strength training and flexibility exercises.
Aerobic exercise provides energy through the use of oxygen. Aerobics include running, cycling, swimming and other forms of sports. Anaerobic exercise occurs when there is no oxygen available for the muscles to work with.
Examples of these include strenuous weight lifting or intense workouts such as sprinting or jumping rope. Strength training involves using your own muscle mass to exert force against resistance rather than relying on machines or weights. Flexibility exercises involve movements that allow movement of joints and tendons without causing pain. These include yoga, Pilates, stretching and many other types of exercises.
It is important to understand that not all types of exercise produce equal amounts of energy. Most people do not realize it because they are too busy doing something else while exercising! The human body uses up energy performing all of the functions it needs to survive, such as breathing, digestion, utilizing senses, thinking and even sleeping.
Everyday physical activities use up a certain amount of energy, as well. The body also requires different amounts of energy to sustain different physical activities. A person’s body needs to consume more energy during exercise than it does at rest in order to perform that exercise.
How much energy your body uses up depends on many factors. The intensity of the physical activity—how hard and fast you are working as opposed to a lower amount of energy expended during a less active task such as sitting, for example—is a primary factor. The duration of the exercise is another: if you engage in a twenty-minute workout, your body will burn more calories than if you were to maintain the same level of activity for an hour.
Your own natural ability and training also make a difference in how much energy your body consumes. A person who is in better physical condition burns more energy than a person who is not used to exercising. A well-trained athlete will use up more energy than a person who is not used to the activity at all.
Eating plans that work for some people involve eating small amounts of food throughout the day, five to six meals every two to three hours or eating fewer meals further apart. Other plans suggest never letting yourself get too hungry, but also never fully satisfying your hunger. It is up to you to decide which eating plan best suits your body and your lifestyle.
The following tips can help maximize the amount of daily energy you get from the foods that you eat:
1. Fruits and vegetables have a lot of nutrients without a lot of calories.
Eat lots of fresh produce.
2. Eat lean meats, which are relatively low in calories and high in nutrients.
3. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day, to prevent your body from getting dehydrated.
4. Stay away from food with high fat content, like cheese, eggs and fatty cuts of meat.
5. Avoid processed foods with a long list of unfamiliar ingredients, which are usually high in fat and salt.
6. If you want to lose weight, try to eat until you are only 80% full.
Eat three balanced meals a day, plus two or three servings of fresh fruit and vegetables.
7. If you are extremely active, such as a professional athlete, you may need more calories and may need to eat more often.
Be sure to eat a wide variety of foods and nutrients in order to get everything your body needs.
The above tips can help maximize the amount of nutrients you get from the foods that you eat, but the amount of energy is still primarily determined by the types and amounts of food that you consume. Eating large amounts of sugars and carbohydrates will provide a burst of energy, but this often leads to an energy crash since your blood sugar levels are fluctuating so much. Foods that are high in fat provide a more even source of energy.
Foods that are rich in protein take the longest for your body to digest and use, so you feel full longer after eating them.
If you are eating a small amount of food and not getting enough energy, then you need to try and add more food and if you are eating too much then you need to try and eat less.
The type of food you eat does affect your level of energy. The best way to get the most out of your food and feel full for longer, is to eat food that is high in fiber.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Pears are a form of fruit that work in exactly the same way as an apple. They release their energy slowly and steadily meaning that they are one of the foods that keep you full for longer.
If you feel tired or experience a drop in energy during the day, one of the best ways to get a quick pick-me-up is to eat a banana. This is one of the foods that keep you full for longer since it takes your body around an hour to digest it.
Spinach is not only one of the most nutritionally complete foods available; it is also one of the healthiest. When you eat spinach, your body absorbs all its nutrients and uses them to keep you healthy and energetic, without storing any of the nutrients as surplus.
Whilst the effects of drinking coffee are well known, not many people are aware that the amount of time that the caffeine takes to enter your bloodstream is key to how it makes you feel. If you drink a coffee that has been brewed for around 60 seconds, then this will be absorbed into your blood within 15 minutes. This then has a stimulating effect which makes you more alert for up to 3 hours.
If you drink a coffee that is brewed for around 7 minutes, then this will take around 2 hours to be absorbed and have a lasting effect of 6 hours.
Using these tips alongside the diet plan should help you to get into shape and feel great!
Sources & references used in this article:
Nutrition Assessment of Athletes: A Mode for Integrating Nutrition and Physical Performance Indicators by J Storlie – International Journal of Sport Nutrition and …, 1991 – journals.humankinetics.com
The paleo diet for athletes: The ancient nutritional formula for peak athletic performance by L Cordain, J Friel – 2012 – books.google.com
The effect of dietary protein on protein metabolism and performance in endurance-trained males by E Williamson, H Kato, KA Volterman, K Suzuki… – Med Sci Sports …, 2019 – researchgate.net
The Paleo diet for athletes by L Cordain, J Friel – Rodale Inc., USA, 2005 – 101diets.info
The gluten-free edge: a nutrition and training guide for peak athletic performance and an active gluten-free life by P Bronski, MML Jory – 2012 – books.google.com
Performance Nutrition for the Adolescent Athlete: A Realistic Approach by EK Berg – 2019 – journals.lww.com