Performing at your best, whether in an office or at the gym, takes a hell of a lot more work than just purely mental toughness. In fact, it's impossible to muster up enough energy and strength to make it through the day without the necessary boost that certain foods provide you to reach that potential.
And, while most of us will never become pro athletes or an Olympian, that doesn't mean we can't eat like one.
That's why we're giving you a few tips from the nutritionists who help keep athletes in peak condition, thanks to our friends over at Fitness magazine, who spoke with a few of the top people in the biz.
Don't Skip Breakfast
"One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is heading out for a run in the morning without eating anything first," says Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, director of the Laboratory for Elite Athlete Performance at Georgia State University in Atlanta, who works with Olympic distance runners (10,000m and up) and oversees the nutrition program for U.S. Figure Skating. Since your blood sugar's already low once you wake up, having some carbs is necessary before hitting the pavement for a run or heading to the gym. Oh, and save the protein for after a workout, not before.
Stay Hydrated All Day Long
According to Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research for Athletes' Performance in Phoenix, Arizona, who consults Olympic contenders and pros, athletes should consume 0.5 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight every day. If water's not your thing, get some other type of performance beverage and sip that—just make sure you find one your stomach can handle and stick with it.
Rely On Your Iron
Nope, these experts on referring to hitting the weights and getting your lift on, but instead, eating foods that are rich in iron. This little nutrient can help prevent the risk of injuries during any activity, so make sure you eat oats, cereals and red meats, among other things, to help keep you strong and healthy.
Don't Forget About Recovery
After finishing a workout or something high-intensity, make sure to always consume something with a solid mix of protein and carbs—like a shake or even chocolate milk—with Benardot adding, "this will help reduce muscle soreness and aid in your muscle recovery." Here's a solid suggestion to help boost your recovery, which is used by members of team Specialized-lululemon:
Within five minutes of finishing, they will have had water or an electrolyte drink.
Within 15 to 20 minutes of finishing, they've consumed a recovery drink that contains 20g of a high-quality protein blend and at least 60g carbs.
And within one hour of finishing, they've consumed a whole-grain sandwich with lean meat or egg, cheese, and salad filling.
You may never compete on the highest level, but, thanks to some of these nutritional tips, you can eat and recover like one.
Image via Instagram/usainbolt