CLEVELAND, OHIO — If you have been watching the Olympics in Tokyo, then you know how hard those incredible athletes worked to get there. They have spent countless hours training, which requires a lot of energy, and that’s where nutrition comes into play.
“What this means is, generally, a diet rich in carbohydrates which gives them the preferred fuel for their muscles and their brain when they exercise. And they want protein to help repair muscle and sometimes build muscle, and fats which are important for vitamin absorption and just to feel full after meals,” said David Creel, PhD, psychologist and registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Creel said we can learn a lot from how Olympians eat. They purposely pick foods that are going to benefit them both physically and mentally, which is something the rest of us can do.
So what foods does he recommend? Think lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats like avocados or nuts.
He said these athletes are also really good about timing out their meals and snacks to help them reach peak performance. We can do the same by not skipping meals and eating in moderation.
Finally, they always make sure to drink enough water and get enough sleep.
“Rest is important for both athletes and the non-athletes. It really sets the stage for how we eat, they really go hand-in-hand. So, for instance, if someone doesn’t sleep well, they get up late, they skip breakfast, they make poor choices throughout the day or they may overeat at night. And when they overeat late at night, they don’t sleep well and this vicious cycle just continues day after day,” he explained.
When it comes to supplements, Dr. Creel said it’s important not to become overly reliant on them. It’s better to eat healthy and have a physically active lifestyle.