Are you looking for ways to become a better athlete? From running and weightlifting, to properly fueling, there are always areas athletes can take things to the next level. Explore tips to become a better athlete and how Kinesio taping by Denver Physical Therapy can help.
Eating as an Athlete
Diet plays a pivotal role in how you perform as an athlete. When you are working out for extended periods of time, you need to make sure you have enough energy to get through the workout. Plus, once your workout or game is over, you will need to quickly refuel.
When evaluating what to eat, you must consider the three macronutrients: Carbs, fats, and proteins.
- Carbohydrates: There is a saying out there that carbohydrates, or “carbs,” are bad for you. False! In fact, your body needs them pre- and post-workout. Good carbs, which are unrefined, such as bananas, brown rice, milk or starchy vegetables, will help you push through your workout and recover after. Avoid sugary, processed carbs such as white bread or sweets. So how does it all work? Carbs are broken down into glucose, which the muscles convert to energy and store. Your body will use that energy when you need it. It is beneficial to be strategic with your carbs and eat them a few hours before a workout. Everyone is different, so test around to find a time to eat good carbs that will help you power through your workouts.
- Fats: Like carbs, fats are beneficial to becoming a successful athlete. The body needs omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to function, which you can get through healthy fats. Healthy fats are foods like avocados, nuts, eggs, fish or olive oil. Avoid saturated and trans fats. These foods will boost your energy, reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol. Healthy fats are especially helpful to be consumed with carbs. Together, the duo will help you reach your goals.
- Protein: When protein is consumed, it also helps an athlete perform better. It is made of amino acids, which the body does not produce, hence why it is beneficial to consume them. By eating protein before a workout, it will help the body recover more quickly, increase strength, and performance. If you are looking to strengthen, but not bulk up, don’t worry. You should still consume protein before your workout. It takes a strategy to bulk up from protein.
As an athlete, it is important to drink plenty of water. Hydration is crucial for performance and skill, so when hydrating, plain ol’ water is best, but you can incorporate other healthy beverages in too. Avoid sugary or sweet drinks and smoothies. You can drink beverages with electrolytes which aid in performance and recovery but avoid ones that have a lot of sugar.
When it comes to hydration tips for better athletic performance
, water will keep your joints lubricated, reduces food cravings, assist with digestion and will even help you regulate your body temperature.
Wondering about hydrating before, during, and after a game or workout? Keep these tips in mind:
- Drink a couple of bottles of water a couple hours before your workout to get into your system—try to drink them throughout the time and not all at once
- During your workout, drink at least a half of a bottle of water
- Immediately after your workout, finish the rest of the bottle
Cardio and Strength Training
Cardio and strength training each have their benefits. To advance as an athlete, it is beneficial to incorporate both into your routine.
Cardio is your ticket to burning a large number of calories more quickly if you are looking to lose weight. On average, health experts advise everyone get at least 20 minutes of moderate cardio in five times per week. When incorporating cardio into your fitness routine, you will strengthen your body and reduce your risk for some health issues, reduce stress, have more energy, help your skin, and you will even sleep better! If you are currently a runner and are looking for ways to increase your endurance, don’t expect to be an expert overnight. Start in groups and keep a steady pace. Avoid sprinting and losing your energy. As you work to improve your running skills, visit your local physical therapist for a running analysis
Strength training is crucial to add to your workout routine, too. While cardio helps you burn calories fast in the moment, strength training works over time. This will help you burn calories after your workout is over and you will build muscle—increasing your strength. Don’t worry, it will not make you bulk up. You will become more tone and notice a boost in energy.
Benefits of Kinesio Taping for Athletes
One way athletes are improving their routines is through Kinesio tape. Kinesio tape is a latex-free, elastic tape that athletes apply to various areas with muscle. They can be used for anyone, with or without injuries. When applied, they help with inflammation or pain. The tape slightly lifts the skin, hence allowing blood flow and reducing pressure. This helps athletes perform and recover better. For those with injuries or bruises, Kinesio tape will speed up recovery times. When in place, they will not be impacted and difficult to move—you can perform as usual. Also, because they help to increase blood flow, many notice an enhanced range of motion and have a better move.
Applying Kinesio tape is easy—just put it in place over the muscle you choose. It is also resistant to water and can be used for swimmers. If wondering how to apply, this is something your local physical therapist can assist with.
As you work to become a better and stronger athlete, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness has you covered. We have a variety of services that will help your performance as an athlete. We have eight convenient locations, allowing you to visit us at an office near you. To get started, contact Peak PT & Wellness
today and schedule your appointment.