10 Health and Nutrition Tips for Extreme Sports Athletes

FasterSkierJune 12, 2021
Hannah Halvorsen gains an enviable ridge line on a backcountry powder tour. (Courtesy photo)

Extreme sports aren’t for everyone. The idea of speeding down a mountain, snowmobiling, ice climbing, and snow biking, for most people, is nothing more than terrifying. For the thrill-seekers amongst us, however, these things are exciting. They’re what we live for. But, as fun as extreme sports can be, safety must always be at the forefront of our minds.

Part of staying safe while practicing extreme sports is being able to perform to the best of our abilities. We don’t just train to be our best, to set records, and to enjoy ourselves; we also train so that our bodies can cope with the stresses that we put them under, keeping us safe and allowing us to make quick decisions when we need to. Here’s a look at 10 health and nutrition tips for extreme sports athletes, to help you stay safe and at the top of your game.

Carb Load

Carbs are our body’s main source of fuel. Your body turns carbs into glucose and stores this in your muscles as glycogen. When you exercise, your body uses this store as energy. As long as we eat a healthy diet, we naturally have big enough stores to work out for 90 minutes. But, if your activity is going to last longer, you should carb load for 3-4 days beforehand. Find some great meal planning apps and healthy meal ingredients at https://www.top10.com/.

Avoid Sugar Before Activity

Sugar is great if you need a quick energy boost in normal life, but it can speed up dehydration, which is the last thing that you want during intense activity. Try not to eat or drink anything sugary for at least 30 minutes before you start an exercise.

Get Used to Snacking During Exercise

If you are going to be exercising for more than 90 minutes, try to get into the habit of snacking every 20 minutes. Sports drinks, gels, and bars are quick and easy ways to get refined carbs straight to your muscles.

Reload After Exercise

After exercise, you’ll need something to boost your energy levels, but you don’t need a quick boost, so stay away from gels and bars. You’ll want to choose lower release carbs, like wholegrain pasta, bread, and vegetables. Drinking milk can also help, as it can provide a great balance of carbs and proteins.

There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Protein

As an athlete of any kind, it’s tempting to load up on protein. Protein is great, as it gives us energy, keeps us going for longer, and it’s great for building muscle and maintaining a healthy weight.

But you can eat too much protein. Too much protein can put a strain on your kidneys and over time do more harm than good. Most people (even athletes) need between 1.2 and 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. You can easily get this from your diet, with lean meats, fish, protein, eggs, beans, and nuts. As long as you get plenty of these foods, avoid protein supplements.

Up Your Water Intake

Drink lots of water during exercise, but also in everyday life. Your body is going to need a few days to recover fully, and during this time you are more prone to dehydration. Keep your body working at its best by ensuring that you get enough water every day.

Always Warm-Up

Cold muscles are more likely to get injured. For winter sports, we dress well to keep our bodies warm and comfortable. But we also need to make sure that our muscles are warm by warming up before we start. Practice a 15-minute dynamic warm-up before your activity to prevent injuries. You may also find that wearing compression socks or tights helps your muscles to recover faster.

Know Your Limits

As an extreme sports fan, you are bound to watch other athletes on TV and in real life and picture yourself doing what they do. But trying to copy what you see on TV is the surest way to get injured. It’s crucial that you know your limits, your own body, and your strength. Push yourself, train, and try new things but, for your health and safety, know when to stop and when to hold back.

Practice Active Recovery

Extreme sports are exhausting, and you are bound to ache the day after. But doing nothing at all will only make things worse. Your body will stiffen, and it will take longer to recover. Practice active recovery with yoga, walking, swimming, and other gentle exercises to give your body what it needs – this blog post on https://happyirl.co.uk has more information.

Get Lots of Rest

That said, rest and especially sleep are essential. Get an early night before and after activity to give your body a chance to compete at its best and recover quickly.

The biggest health tip for extreme athletes is to listen to your body. Pay attention to what it is telling you and give it what it needs. Then, enjoy yourself.


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