Over many years, as a goal driven elite athlete I was always motivated and interested in refining my diet to become a more successful athlete. Athlete’s success depends on training consistency & training content. Health still remains the foundation upon training is build. Being unhealthy or injured is an athlete’s no.1 enemy. Therefore, my priority has always been to remain healthy by following a healthy diet at all cost.
Today, my diet hasn’t changed much at all even though I train a little bit less and spend much more time helping other athletes & health oriented fitness enthusiasts. The way of eating foods has turned into a habit. I am motivated more than ever to eat healthy and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. I am driven to a life full of activities, new goals and challenges where a healthy diet must provide the right source of fuel.
Like me the majority of athletes are motivated to stay healthy and to promote their performance and lifestyle with a healthy diet. Although, I have observed that athletes, let alone our society, still don’t know enough about a healthy diet or a basic daily exercise program.
Unfortunately, there are still way too many athletes who think that training is an excuse to eat junk, to overeat or to pop a supplement pill.
Whenever I receive the opportunity I like to point out that, “If you eat “garbage” how can you expect to perform to your best capabilities? Eat crap and you are going to feel like it. Our body & brain require quality nutrition’s to maintain a state of health, regenerate and grow.
Something has to change in order to make a difference. And, if we don’t change anything how can we expect to make changes?
Athletes who look to become faster and stronger must reevaluate their diet and thus consume quality foods. Athletes are like Formula 1 sport cars which only run on super fuel. Everyone who’s goal is to stay, regain health, to loss weight and to improve fitness….must begin to build a foundation beneath it. And, one essential element of a foundation will always be what we eat. Period!!
Eat well in order to feel well. Eat the right foods at the right time can make a big difference in achieving goals and success.
I’m not writing anything new that hasn’t been already said in the mass media. I’m pretty sure that eating the right foods can help you to stay or regain health or even reduce the risk of developing cancer. Success in our world of sports is an outcome of the following: exercising, a healthy diet and being inspired by goals (i.e. I want to be able to still walk and play with my Grandchildren when 85 years of age; become a world-champion, finish my 1st triathlon, to run or cycle faster, etc). Diet pills and whatnot won’t cut it. Nothing beats a rock solid diet & exercise routine in the long haul in my opinion.
I have compiled a list of 8 healthy diet tips that I have followed more or less over the past 20 years which helped me to recover quicker, stay healthier, fit, and strong. Again, I’m sure in that you will find the exact same guidance by nutrition experts.
1. Eat less salt
- eating too much salt can increase the risk for stomach cancer and high blood pressure. Therefore limit the intake of sodium (no more then 1500mg). Pay attention to the food you are about to consume (quantity). Read the labels and if it has more then 600mg don’t eat it. Watch out for hidden sodium in certain foods such as processed foods, chips, canned beans & vegetables, frozen foods and breads.
2. Drink less alcohol
- drinking alcohol can increase the risk of cancer. Glycogen is stored in muscles cells/mitochondria’s and our liver. After workouts or before races athletes have to aim at loading up glycogen stores in order to train and race well. Drinking alcohol can impair carbo-loading in the liver.
3. Drink more water.
- drink more water and less soda drinks or juices which contain unhealthy amounts of sugar and calories which over time can lead to unwanted weight gain and put you on risk to develop diabetes, heart disease and cancer. On the other hand water has no calories and can help to stay fuller, eat less and to loose bodyweight. Water helps to lubricates joints, ligaments, tendons and soft-tissues. Being hydrated means you are recovering faster and performing better (muscles & brain). Typically, the clearer your urine is, the healthier you should be. Always monitor the color of your urine which should be light yellow to clear colored which is a good sign that you are properly hydrated. One of many goals I have is to drink 1 to 2 glasses of cold & filtered water every morning before breakfast. I also keep a glass of water or a bottle of water in the bathroom when I need to visit it at night. I never travel without water.
4. Eat more whole grains
- eat them every day! Whole grains are carbs that contain lots of fibers. Fibers are so important because they help you to feel full, maintain a healthy weight and stay healthy (keep cholesterol & blood sugar at a healthier level). I have a big bowl of raw or cooked oatmeal or muesli every morning for breakfast. Whole grain foods: Brown/wild rice, Quinoa, Tabouleh. Over 150 years ago people would consume over 150grams of fibers every day with their diet. Read food labels and avoid carbs without fiber.
5. Avoid processed meat
- processed meat (smoked, salted, cured) can increase colon cancer risk and damages DNA due to added chemicals. Processed meats (bacon, sausages, roast beef & jerky..) are loaded with sodium. I limit the consumption of processed meats to about 1-2 servings per week. Instead, I enjoy healthier protein options such as fish, tofu or chicken.
6. Eat more vegetables & fruits
- Veggies & fruits are loaded with energy, fiber and nutrition’s (vitamins, minerals (i.e. sodium), antioxidants). My diet is plant-based with healthy protein options. Research shows (China Study..) that a plant-based is the best things you can do to lower cancer or to loss bodyweight. My observations has been that my bodyweight remains low, I feel fuller and my energy levels are always very high.
7. Eat breakfast
- I always have a breakfast because it gives me the foundation & energy to meet my daily goals and tasks. My breakfast contains whole grains (oat meal), fresh fruits or even veggies, a protein (i.e. 1-2 eggs), and healthy fats (seeds/nuts). I also eat a low sodium bread with some PB with 1x Banana. People who skip breakfast usually keep snacking throughout the day, loss count of what they have eaten (calories/put on weight) and eat too much at night. I personally try to get in my carbs early starting with a balanced breakfast and lunch. For dinner I eat more healthy proteins with some carbs.
8. Eat less red meat
- research shows that eating less red meat reduces the risk of cancer. Limit the consumption of red meat. I eat it, too, but just not as much. Maybe 1-2 serving sizes of meat (one serving (6-9 oz) equals no more than size of palm) every 7 to 14 days. Red meat: pork, lamp, deer, beef… .I like to eat chicken instead, maybe with a soup or a large salad (w/spinach, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, some roasted nuts, raspberries, lemon juice, a little olive oil, spring onions, 1-2 eggs etc) and 1-2 glasses of water.