What Diet Works Best For Athletes?

Scientists have been researching to find the best diet for athletes for many years. Their findings have shown positive and negative results on the same diet but with different athletes, yet the remaining question stands, “what diet works best for an athlete?”

Athletes are not some a different race of some sort even though we often get to hear, “yes, but you’re an athlete, so this diet doesn’t count for you.” Athletes are ordinary human beings doing extraordinary things. Unlike everyone else, athletes continuously strive to become better. The fuel, or the food as most people would call it, is the key here. However, how do we know what the best diet is and what works for me in specific?

Among doctors, biohackers and nutritionists have discussed the many different diets athletes follow strictly, and the majority have come to the same conclusion, there is only one that truly works. The one diet that never ever will fail is the one that is composed individually for each athlete. Not one athlete has the same background in life, sport, experiences, food intake, and genes as another one. Therefore, it is logical that not the same diet would work for two athletes, even if they are on the same team.

It would be wrong of me to sit here and tell you what the “right” diet is for all athletes when we all have different preferences, metabolisms, and backgrounds. Besides, as our bodies react differently to all types of foods, there is only one thing that is right to do, see a nutritionist, and figure out what truly works for you or test yourself.

How to test yourself:

  1. Write down all of the foods that you ate this week or one week.
  2. Circle the 10 most common foods that you eat every week.

3. Give each of the different foods a number from 1-10 and next to those foods write down what you believe you can substitute them with for a better choice. For example:

4. Now it’s time to substitute one food each week. So, this swap will take ten weeks to complete. Perhaps you want to make a bigger change and become a pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, or something else, that is up to you.
5. Each week you swap a new food. Starting with oatmeal, instead of eating oatmeal every morning for breakfast, I will have quinoa, berries and yogurt instead or oatmeal berries, and yogurt. Next week I add another substitution, and so on.

OR you could make it a nutritious change. Check out this chart and make the changes with the help of it. See what foods your body might react different/better/worse to.

Meanwhile you’re figuring out what foods you would like to substitute take a look at this TED talk that perfectly describes why different diets or lifestyles have different results on athletes 😉

This being said, I believe there is a specific diet for every athlete. No athlete reacts the same to all foods like another. So, finding out what works best for you is the best possible diet for YOU.

Until next week, decide if you want to test yourself or if you want to go and see an expert in this field that could help you measure the different chemical levels in your body and help you maximize your performance. Remember, what we eat also affects the brain 😉

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Ruis says:

    I think one of the fundamental problems with diets is how “good foods” and “bad foods”” are defined. Reading “Good Calories, Bad Calories” was a real eye opener for a immense pile of very bad scientific research that had accumulated around the topic.

    I also immediately remember sitting in the cafeteria in the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA (I was there as a coach, not an athlete), and an athlete who turned out to be a discus thrower sat down next to me. His tray was so loaded up with dishes that you could no longer see the tray. I am a quite large fellow and have a healthy appetite and it would have taken me about three meals to eat that much food. Athletes in training often burn immense amounts of energy and need immense amounts of food to not lose weight or muscle mass. We are just now finding out that one can train as an elite athlete and keep to a vegetarian diet (reinforced by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger). Such a diet may not be “better” than other diets but it shows how long we have labored under the ideas of centuries ago that have not been seriously studied.

    I am also quite certain that the people who are doing blood, DNA, and other tissue analyses to determine “optimal diets” for athletes are shooting in the dark, the “dark” being the paucity of high quality research into the effects of diet on performance, something we have just begun. Still, the best approach is for athletes to try things (Keep a notebook!) just as their do in their sports.

    Liked by 1 person

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