Nutrition Tips

3 Nutrition Essentials for Athletes

Posted on May 22, 2023

3 Nutrition Essentials for Athletes

As an athlete, your body is your most important tool. To perform at your best, it's important to fuel your body with the right nutrients. Here are three nutrition essentials that every athlete should focus on.


Staying hydrated is crucial for athletes. Water is essential for regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients, and removing waste products from the body. Even mild dehydration can negatively affect athletic performance, so it's important to drink enough water throughout the day. A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that dehydration can impair cognitive function and increase the risk of heat illness in athletes. To optimize hydration, athletes should aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and more during periods of intense exercise or hot weather.

Here are three tips for optimizing hydration:

● Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day and sip on it regularly.

● Drink water before, during, and after exercise to help replace fluids lost through sweat.

● Monitor your urine color - if it's light yellow or clear, you're likely hydrated. If it's dark yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.


Protein is important for muscle repair and growth, making it a key nutrient for athletes. It also helps support a healthy immune system and can aid in weight management. One study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that athletes who consumed a high-protein diet had improved muscle strength and power compared to those who consumed a low-protein diet.

Here are three tips for optimizing protein intake:

● Aim to consume protein with every meal and snack, such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

● Choose lean sources of protein to minimize saturated fat intake.

● Consume protein within 30 minutes of completing exercise to help support muscle repair and recovery.

Adequate Calories

Athletes need to consume enough calories to fuel their activity levels and support their metabolic needs. Consuming too few calories can lead to fatigue, weakness, and poor athletic performance. One study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that female athletes who consumed inadequate calories had higher rates of injury and decreased bone density compared to those who consumed adequate calories.

Here are three tips for ensuring adequate calorie intake:

● Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals makes it more difficult to meet your daily calorie needs.

● Consume nutrient-dense foods to help meet calorie needs, such as lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and nuts.

● Make post-training nutrition a priority to jumpstart the recovery process.

Proper nutrition is essential for athletes. By focusing on hydration, protein, and adequate calorie intake, athletes can optimize their performance and support their overall health. By following the tips provided, athletes can take their nutrition to the next level and achieve their goals.


1. Casa DJ, Armstrong LE, Hillman SK, Montain SJ, Reiff RV, Rich BS, Roberts WO, Stone JA. National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes. Journal of Athletic Training. 2000 Sep;35(3):212-24. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-098994. PMID: 12937494.

2. Cermak NM, Res PT, de Groot LC, Saris WH, van Loon LJ. Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2012 Dec;9(1):51. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-51. PMID: 23241341; PMCID: PMC3529694.

3. Barrack MT, Van Loan M, Rauh MJ, Nichols JF. Poor Adherence to US Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Female Figure Skaters: Implications for Sports Nutrition. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2002;102(9):1293-1296. doi:10.1016/s0002-8223(02)90287-9

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