Olympic Diets Don’t Always Center Around Carbs

Many people imagine athletes gobbling up carbohydrate-dense meals a few hours before the big game, race or event in order to have the energy their sport requires. Food is fuel and carbs are essential for high-intensity exercise. Or so many believe. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, not all athletes reach for pasta before their event. It all depends on the sport.

Varied diets
The study researched the diets of winter athletes in particular, which is relevant considering the 2014 Winter Olympics are in full swing. Athletes who compete in cold climates face specific dietary needs because extreme weather conditions are taxing on the body. These men and women do, in fact, need plenty of carbohydrates before, during and after an event, but they also need a variety of nutrients. Athletes may choose a snack of almonds or vegetable juice instead of or in addition to carbs.

Furthermore, winter athletes may have a different physique than other competitors. For example, both figure skaters and ski jumpers are known for their lean stature, according to National Public Radio. Those with a smaller frame don’t need tons of carbohydrates to perform, and eating too many carbs could have a negative effect on their physical goals.

Olympic meals at home
As a student of an online culinary arts program, you can fix snacks and meals that take a cue from winter athletes. You don’t have to be an Olympian to get the benefits of nutrient-dense foods. Meet your fitness goals by eating right for the body structure you want. The study in the Journal of Sports Sciences detailed the energy consumption requirements that athletes from various sports should get.

Figure skaters and ski jumpers needed the smallest amount of calories. If you’re staying lean and mean, then reach for a balanced diet. For example, snack on nuts for a protein-rich treat that is filled with healthy fats. Toast almonds with some salt and eat them after an outdoor run. The salt will help replenish spent electrolytes.

Snowboarding, alpine skiing and speed skating required moderate to high amounts of carbohydrates. If you participate in these sports, then pick meals before exercise that contain a decent amount of carbs. Try sandwiches and pastas that also feature vegetables and some protein. Be sure to get some carbs during and after your day on the slope as well.

Ice hockey, Nordic combined and biathlon athletes all needed high-carb meals before their events, and require replenishment during and after exercise.

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