Taking Nutrition Seriously
By Ernie Hassell
The importance of good nutrition is nothing new. Back in 400 B.C., Hippocrates said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." Today, good nutrition is more important than ever. At least four of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.--heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes -- are directly related to way we eat; diet is also implicated in fitness.
Until a few years ago, the only athletes who took nutrition seriously were body-builders. Now, nutrition is an integral part of training in such activities as football, basketball, swimming, tennis and others.
This is for a very good reason. Whether you are a world-class athlete or an exercise enthusiast, nutrition is fundamental to fitness. Specific vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids feed your cells. They control your strength, your ability to recover from heavy workouts, and even your mood. Let's face it. How good is your performance when you're distracted, depressed, or anxious?
Optimum nutrition can make a vast difference in how your body responds to training, and how you perform in your sport. It can be the difference between winning and losing, and how quickly your body recovers.
The best eating plan for athletes should include adequate fluids and plenty of low-fat, unrefined carbohydrate foods that provide energy and replenish the fuel and fluids used during physical activity. As an athlete, you should pay careful attention to your nutritional needs not only before, but also during, and after exercise.
Should you use nutritional supplements?
If you are active and eat a lot of wholesome foods, you can get a lot of vitamins in your diet. For example, if you drink 12 ounces of orange juice, you'll get 200% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C. Without a doubt, fruits and vegetables are a great source of important nutrients. These powerhouse foods provide vitamins that also guard against aging, cancer, heart disease, and other diseases. They're smart health insurance for the future.
Nutritional supplements can help your body function at a more optimal level. You simply can't get enough vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients from your diet if you are engaged in regular heavy workouts.
Be aware that not all nutritional supplements are the same. Some are made from high-quality ingredients while others are actually made from petroleum by-products. Studies have shown that natural supplements are more effective than synthetic.
Good quality supplements enhance your body's ability to function. The best way to try any nutritional supplement is to take a single product for at least two weeks and observe the effects. Do you have more energy? Can you train harder? At the end of the trial period, stop, take a week's break, and then try another product, having noted the response to the previous item. Once more give it two weeks, stop, take a week's break, and try the next one on the list yet again writing down your response. Continue this until you have tried the ones that most appeal to you. At the end of the trial period, you will have a very good idea of what works for you, and what doesn't. Through this process you will be able to formulate the most effective nutritional program designed exclusively for you.
The end result will be that you will be much more capable and effective, whatever your sport.
About the Author: Ernie Hassell is Chief Executive Officer of XTREME Performance the designer and developer of innovative, safe, and natural performance enhancing nutritional products http://www.xtremeperformance.com
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