Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size
A
A
A

Top Nutrition Tips for Athletes

3. Go Easy on Fat

For long events, such as marathons, the body turns to fat for energy when carbohydrate sources run low. But most athletes get all the fat they need by following basic dietary guidelines: Eat mostly unsaturated fat from foods such as nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. Experts recommend avoiding fatty foods on the day of an event, since they can cause stomach distress for some people.

4. Drink Fluids Early and Often

High-intensity exercise, especially in hot weather, can quickly leave you dehydrated. Dehydration, in turn, can hurt your performance and, in extreme cases, be life-threatening.

"All high-intensity athletes should drink fluids early and often," says Dubost. "And don't wait until you're thirsty. By the time you feel parched, you may be seriously dehydrated."

"One way to monitor hydration is to keep an eye on the color of your urine," says Joshua Evans, MD, a physician at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and an expert on dehydration.

A pale yellow color means you're getting enough fluid. Bright yellow or dark urine means you're falling short.

Because intense exercise causes rapid fluid loss, it's a good idea to drink fluids before as well as during an event, says Dubost.

  • For endurance athletes such as marathon runners or long-distance cyclists, experts recommend drinking 8 to 12 ounces of fluid every 10 or 15 minutes during an event.
  • When possible, drink chilled fluids, which are more easily absorbed than room temperature water. Chilled fluids also help cool your body down.

5. Replenish Lost Electrolytes

Sweating causes both fluid and electrolyte loss. Electrolytes help transmit nerve signals in your body, and play many other important roles. To replenish lost electrolytes, many athletes reach for sports drinks. If you lose a lot of fluid sweating, experts recommend diluting sports drinks with equal amounts of water to get the best balance of fluid and electrolytes.

1 | 2
Reviewed on June 17, 2012

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Slideshow
Flat Abs
Slideshow
 
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Slideshow
woman using ice pack
Quiz
 

man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
Teen girl jogging
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article