The nutritional tricks of star athletes

Eating enough eggs per week can signifcantly increase lean muscle. (Thinkstock)With their grueling workout regimes and tailor-made diets, it’s no wonder that athletes and Olympians have some of the most heavenly bodies in the universe.

Even if you never get a medal for your backstroke or a trophy for your goalie skills, there are a number of nutritional tricks you can adopt from some of the world’s most lauded athletes. (And you won’t have to subscribe to Michael Phelps’ infamous 12,000-calorie-a-day diet either).

Egg power

Men’s Health UK notes that gold-medal rower Pete Reed eats a second breakfast after training. Aside from porridge and beans on toast, Reed consumes four scrambled eggs. According to researchers at Texas A&M University, a “typical egg is 72.5% pure protein, and eating three a day at least twice a week can double lean muscle growth over a twelve-week period.” Diver Nick McCrory similarly downs scrambled eggs as part of his breakfast, easily making it the breakfast of champions.

Right carbs

Nutritional gurus and athletes alike can’t stop stressing the importance of a good breakfast. In Hockey News, former NHLer Gary Roberts shares his reliance on oatmeal in the morning, calling it a “cornerstone” of his diet. Livestrong.com explains the humble dish is packed with soluble fiber and healthy carbohydrates and can keep you feeling satisfied for a long time. Carbs have gotten a bad wrap over the years, but Roberts suggests that a high-carb and calorie meal such as spaghetti and meat sauce can help energize you before a big game.

Snack Attack

Canadian dietitian Nanci S. Guest relays her diet advice for athletes in Fresh Juice magazine. And it’s not just what you eat but when. Guest says that after a workout, it’s important to restore nutrients so eating high-glycemic carbs such as dates and raisins are a great option since “they’re in your bloodstream in two to three minutes.” Another nice post-workout treat? A bit of low-fat chocolate milk, which replaces protein and is “ideal for muscle repair.”

Schedule energy

If you are dragging yourself through the day, you may want to heed the expertise of Kelly Anne Erdman, a Canadian cycling star who oversaw the nutrition of Canadian Olympians at the London games. In BC Living, Erdman stresses eating every three hours to prevent those dreaded lags in energy. Some of her top nutritional choices include greens like kale, chard and spinach.

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