There are many things that you can do to improve your athletic performance, for example, by resting an appropriate amount of time. One of the easiest ways that you can also improve your performance is through proper diet and exercise. However, when it comes to game day, you want to make sure that your body has the access to all of the nutrients and energy it needs to perform as efficiently as possible.

Because good nutrition does not simply start and end on game day, you want to make sure that your diet includes the following things. Make sure that you are getting ample amounts of the protein needed to build muscles. Lean protein is the best source and you should be looking at foods which have a high percentage of protein that is useable by your body. A great choice for protein is eggs because they contain many other nutrients and are not high in fat.

Other sources of protein include lean meats, fish, and peanut butter. If you are following a vegetarian diet, you should look at consuming beans, tofu and other meat substitutes in order to make sure you are getting enough to build muscle and improve your athletic performance.

You also want to eat fruits and vegetables because of the vitamins and minerals that they contain. They are also a good sweet treat if you are having cravings and because they are nutritionally rich they are not as harmful as the empty calories you take in eating chocolate or candy. Just remember to balance it off with carbohydrates and proteins so that you are not crashing a short time after eating that sugar.

On game day, you want to make sure you are eating a good meal the morning of your game. It should include proteins and carbohydrates since they can supply you with the energy you need to get you to your game. It is important to start the energy loading early because you will not want to eat a large meal shortly before your game. It is better to eat well in the morning and then have a light snack shortly before you go onto the court.

One thing you need to avoid is salt. Other than the negative effects of long term sodium consumption (such as high blood pressure), salt can make you retain water and this can lead to bloating. This, in turn can slow you down on the court, something which you want to avoid if you can help it. It is much better to turn to sources of protein and carbohydrates before the game in order to stock up on energy.

You want to make sure that you do not eat a lot if it is less than an hour before a game. This is because the body will divert the blood which is flowing to the stomach to help it digest food to your muscles and this can cause your stomach contents to sit and make you feel full and uncomfortable. If you can, try to eat a good source of lean protein such as eggs or peanut butter about ninety minutes before you go on. Then, you can eat a light source of carbohydrates about an hour before and this will give you both the quick energy source and the long term fuel to perform at the top of your ability.

Picture credit: .faramarzCreative Commons Attribution

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