Extreme sports might be high-flying, hair-rising activities, but they’re also exercise. As such, extreme sport athletes should be just as aware of sports nutrition as more conventional athletes like bodybuilders and powerlifters.
Whether it’s snowboarding, rock climbing, martial arts, parkour or even base jumping, getting your nutrition right so that your body is in shape is essential to being the best athlete you can be. With that in mind, here are some nutrition tips to help you prepare yourself for intense sport and prevent injury.
Good food, good health.
Before we start giving out tips on how to eat better, it’s worth noting why you should eat healthy. Good nutrition helps your body fight off disease and consuming protein helps increase muscle maintenance and repair, which in turn helps prevent sport injuries.
Vegetables help fight off disease thanks to antioxidants and flavonoids as well as minerals and vitamins. Leafy greens also contain high levels of vitamins that boost our metabolic process.
Protein, which you can get from food like nuts, pulses, fish and meat, is essential for building muscle to help aid in your sporting endeavours. Even the skinniest of rock climbers have rippling forearm muscles aided by good diets. For more information, read this MaxiNutrition guide on how to build muscle.
Zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6 (also known as ZMA) is a supplement issued in pill form that contains a daily dose of testosterone boosting minerals which help promote better sleep. A ZMA is a great way for busy adrenaline junkies to maximise the recovery period that occurs during sleep. They also boost muscle growth, so they’re perfect for gaining strength as you recover.
Drink whey protein shakes
While you’ve probably seen a bodybuilder with a shaker bottle in hand and thought “is this for me?” it’s worth noting that protein shakes are a universally handy way to up your protein intake. Protein helps support muscle recovery and contributes to a growth in muscle mass, so it’s useful for anyone involved in an active lifestyle. Mix one with milk or water and consume post-exercise!
Hydration is key
Your body needs roughly two litres of water per day, but if you live an active lifestyle this number can change dramatically. When you’re pursuing an adventurous sport it’s easy to forget about the importance of hydration – but you shouldn’t, the human body’s performance drops heavily when dehydrated even 1-2 per cent.
Being dehydrated by more than three per cent increases your risk of exertional heat illnesses like heat stroke or heat exhaustion – which could be an adrenaline junkie’s worst nightmare. Just imagine finally booking the climbing holiday of your dreams and then having to spend days in the hotel or hospital due to one of these illnesses.
To keep hydrated, make sure you drink water throughout the day and during exercise. Isotonic drinks can help quickly bring your hydration levels back up following exertion.