Today, please welcome Rory Nicolson from Rugby Store! He’s here sharing some foods that can help complement your athletic training!
4 Foods to Complement an Athlete’s Training Regime
It goes without saying that all athletes need to ensure their bodies are fueled with a combination of macronutrients tailored to their physical activity needs. Customising your macronutrient intake to the specific requirements of your preferred sport helps to ensure that you are prepared for both competition and post-exercise recovery.
This article brings to light 4 natural foods that can aid your physical performance. While all the foods are useful to anyone who leads an active lifestyle, we’ve included suggestions on physical pursuits where they could be of particular benefit.
Sprouts – Rugby and High Intensity Weight Programs
You may, like myself, have grown up hating the idea eating sprouts and since failed to give them another try. They don’t taste as bad as you probably once imagined and they are well worth including in your performance focused diet. I personally prefer alfalfa and broccoli sprouts but the entire sprout family is rich in protein, amino acids and digestion assisting enzymes, making them perfect for athletes looking to maintain large muscle mass.
The naturally occurring enzymes in sprouts can help to neutralise your body’s free radicals, allowing for healthy cell function. Sprouts also have the advantage of being edible (and enjoyable) raw which is a great way to supply your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to perform at your peak. Sprouts are widely available and keep well in the fridge so you’ve got no excuse for keeping them off your shopping list.
Turmeric – Long Distance Running & Weight Programs
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are well documented and leveraged by athletes the world over as an effective alternative to ibuprofen. The magic nutrient present in turmeric that gives it anti-inflammatory effects is curcumin. Some studies have suggested that curcumin is linked with the prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) but this is yet to be definitively proven.
These benefits are extremely valuable to physically active people who place large amounts of stress on their joints such as long distance runners, gym enthusiasts and a range of team sport athletes (especially those played on hardcourts). Including turmeric in your diet may not seem as straightforward as the other foods listed in this article, but it can be done with relative ease. Fresh turmeric is best so you’ll need to either grate or grind the bulbs and then whisk it in your with your scrambled eggs, sprinkle it on your steak or stir it through rice.
Coconut Oil – All Athletes
Coconut oil is a really positive addition to your shopping list. Other oils, especially inexpensive ones, tend to have high saturated fat levels. The thing that separates coconut oil from its counterparts is its high level of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs tend to be more easily metabolized and are less likely to be added to your body’s fat stores.
Some studies have suggested that coconut oil acts as an appetite suppressant which would make it useful for athletes trying to drop weight for competition. It also has a high lauric acid content which can promote healthy immune system function. There are countless recipes available online specifically tailored for coconut oil and your body will be thankful for you trying them.
Pumpkin Seeds – Rugby
Rugby players in particular tend to constantly look for new ways to add extra protein to their diets. If you think you’ve exhausted all possible avenues in this regard, I recommend trying pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a solid alternative source of protein and are extremely versatile.
On top of their high protein content, pumpkin seeds are also rich in iron and zinc which can help to boost your testosterone levels. They also have high levels of healthy unsaturated fats to keep your joints functioning properly. Try pumpkin seeds mixed in with yoghurt, add them to your sandwiches or simply snack on them throughout the day to boost your protein consumption.
Complement your training regime by trying something new
From the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric to the protein boosting capabilities of pumpkin seeds, this article has highlighted just a few of the foods that could complement your training regime. It always feels good to try something new so why not add some of these foods to your weekly training regime? You’ll likely enhance your physical performance in the process.
About the author
Rory Nicolson is a graduate of the University of Stirling and is currently Social Media Manager at rugbystore.co.uk. A long suffering supporter of the Scotland and Edinburgh rugby teams, he creates content for blog.rugbystore.co.uk and other social channels.