Choosing the Right Sports Nutrition For You - A Guide
When it comes to choosing a nutrition plan, the internet can be a confusing place to start. Many trainers, dieticians, nutritionists and athletes support and market so many different nutritional paths that, at times, it can seem impossible to find the right plan for you.
At ATAQ, we like to keep things simple. We focus on honest, plant-based nutrition. Our goal is to help you find an all-natural yet affordable and effective way to give your body the proper nutrition it needs to fuel you throughout the day.
But before you dive into a new lifestyle plan, let’s discuss a few of the important things you need to consider when choosing sports nutrition that’s right for you.
When choosing a fitness and nutrition plan, your body type is an important place to start. In addition, your body type can change throughout your fitness journey.
Whether your goals are gaining muscles, increasing your workouts or even weight loss, your current physical makeup will determine the steps you need to reach your goals.
When first starting your nutritional journey, it’s important to understand the three main body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.
To keep things simple, ectomorphs are typically lean with lower fat and have a harder time building muscle, mesomorphs (most pro athletes) are strong and muscular with a better ability to maintain a healthy weight and endomorphs have higher body fat and higher muscle, but a much harder time losing weight.
By studying your body shape, weight fluctuation, and muscle/fat growth or loss, you will gain an insight into the ways your body responds to different foods and supplements.
For example, ectomorphs looking to bulk up would benefit from ATAQ protein shakes that help them build muscle. Taken after physical activity, our best nutritional drinks provide a healthy way to make up for lost calories and infuse muscles with plant-based, muscle-building protein. In addition to protein shakes and meal enhancing supplements, the ectomorph diet should ideally consist of 45 percent carbs, 35 percent protein and 20 percent fat. This ratio (as a percent of calories) will help pack on strength and muscle without sacrificing nutrition.
For mesomorphs, a balanced diet of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat from calories is an ideal place to start. Meals can be supplemented or even replaced with nutrition shakes or dietary supplements, but as the average mesomorph faces less struggles of gaining/losing weight, it might not be necessary.
Endomorphs, who might be looking to slim down, would benefit from meal replacement shakes that make them feel full. It can give them proper nutrients, while also ridding their diet of added sugars and artificial flavors that lead to weight gain.
In terms of numbers for an endomorph diet, a breakdown of 40 percent fat, 40 percent protein and 20 percent carbs is ideal. This ratio gives you what you need to feel full and retain muscle while also helping you lose weight.
For guidance on your body type, visit here.
At ATAQ, we support a healthy, plant-based diet that provides the body the nutrients it needs to find your peak performance.
While vegan diets fully restrict meat, or carnivorous diets put a strong emphasis on meat, the plant-based diet simply puts less emphasis on meat consumption in favor of a more balanced diet.
In fact, many people on a plant-based diet rely on portions of animal meat or fish to provide healthy proteins, amino acids and B12 for their daily diet. When supplemented with the diet’s main focus, plant-based nutrition, these meats flourish and support the body’s needs in the way they were intended:
As far as the “plant” part of the plant-based diet goes, this is where the real creativity comes in. We recommend a diet based around snacks and meals including but not limited to:
- Fresh Fruits: berries, bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit
- Vegetables: spinach, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, kale
- Whole Grains: oats, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice
- Nuts: macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, brazil nuts
- Seeds: flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Beans and Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, soybeans, pinto beans, black beans
- Oils: fish oil, canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil
If you’re noticing a theme here, it’s that these are minimally processed foods whose nutrition content is reliable and plentiful. The same goes for the meat part of the diet, we support grass-fed beef, humanely-raised poultry and sustainably-sourced fish like salmon and mackerel.
When you successfully combine these clean plant-based foods with healthy, organic meats, it’s known as the “Mediterranean Diet,” which is often celebrated as among the world’s healthiest nutrition plans.
In addition to providing you with healthy levels of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, this diet also aids digestion, heart health, high blood sugar and the pursuit of a healthy weight. This is exactly why this diet has exploded in popularity with so many athletes.
Budget (Time and Money)
The final factors to consider when devising a sports nutrition plan are your two budgets: time and money.
Your time budget ties into your food preparation and the exercise that supplements your nutrition. If you are someone who has lots of free time to devise, prepare and enjoy complex, healthy meals, then more power to you!
But, if you’re like many of us, this just isn’t your reality. Many of us come home after a long day of work and immediately gnosh on the first food we can get our hands-on, which often isn’t the healthiest option. So what’s the solution?
We recommend planning out your meals and snacks to ensure you always have access to a healthy, filling food option. Coincidentally, this is also where your fiscal budget comes into consideration.
As a health-driven nutrition brand, one of our frustrating obstacles is the misconception that healthy food has to be expensive and hard to find. Frankly, this just isn’t the truth.
The key is to approach your shopping just like you approach your workouts and competitions: make a list of what you need to do your best, find the most affordable place to get that food and then buy it. Don’t overextend yourself, but also don’t sacrifice your goals by consistently setting for an easy, cheat meal.
Once you find time and fiscal budgets that are within your limits, it can become easy and even fun to plan out the day’s nutrition.
Whether it’s keeping healthy nuts in the car or at the office, putting ready-to-make healthy meats in the fridge for the week or keeping a healthy supply of fruits and veggies for bouts of hunger, you’ll start to see a healthy diet as a conquerable, and affordable, pursuit.
For more information on ATAQ nutrition, healthy eating, exercise and more, check out our other posts.