Eating like an athlete can be a challenge. If you ask the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, and other A-listers who’ve been ‘marvelled,’ they all have a couple of things in common.
They all look incredible after their transformation. They all had to put in a lot of work doing compound exercises to train like athletes. They all found eating to be one of the most challenging parts of their transformation.
Looking your best and performing at the highest level requires a commitment to both diet and exercise. Everyone can do it, but surprisingly, it is the diet and eating that causes most people to give up…but not you!
RawQ is here to deliver our top tips for eating like a professional athlete so you can perform at your best!
Eat high-performance food every 3-5 hours. High-performance foods are whole, natural foods rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and protein. You should aim for a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight to maintain muscle and speed repair. You need to eat regularly to ensure you have a constant energy supply. Eating this regularly, even when you don’t feel hungry, also helps prevent binge eating and poor food choices.
Before practices and competitions, eat high-quality foods to give your body energy. Pre-workout foods should be high in clean, long-chain carbohydrates. You should eat a full meal 3-5 hours before your workout or competition and a snack about an hour before. Ideally, the snack should provide slow-release energy.
Consume a healthy diet after workouts and competitions to replenish energy stores and maximise muscle building and repair. A 0.5g complex carbohydrate and 0.8g lean protein intake per kilo of body weight is needed. A full meal should be eaten within 15-60 minutes for best results. During this time, if you cannot get a complete meal in, get a high-quality recovery snack as soon as possible.
Eat a balanced breakfast. This will help you break your overnight fast and give you the energy to start your day. Breakfast can increase your alertness and prevent you from feeling hungry later in the day.
Your last meal should be 3-4 hours before bed. As you digest your food, you disrupt your sleep & hinder your body's repair process. Small high-quality snacks before bed can be helpful; for example, fruit, vegetables, a RawQ bar, etc.
Eat foods from all the food groups. A high-performance diet should include all food groups. Consume high-quality carbs, proteins, fats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products daily. Every meal and snack should contain a variety of food groups.
Hydrate. Hydration is essential for performance. You cannot function at your best if you are low on fluids. Water should be your first choice, and sports drinks during or after intense or sweaty exercise replace electrolytes. Remember, thirst is not a good indicator of hydration. If you wait until thirst kicks in, you may already be dehydrated.
You should plan ahead. Preparation is key to performing and maintaining consistency. Think about your day and plan where and when you will have your meals. It can seem like a bit of a chore at first, but within a few weeks, it will become second nature. You will also save a small fortune by not buying food on the go!
Finally, listen to your body. Learn to tell when you are hungry and when you are full. Visualise your day ahead and think about when you will eat. Is it a high-intensity day? When will you need to up your carb intake…
Bonus: Always have a high-quality slow-release snack with you, so a healthy option is ready whenever you need it.
RawQ bars are ideal for a snack on the go. Keep one in your bag, backpack, or even your pocket, and you’ll know you always have a delicious healthy option on hand.