5 Things Olympians can teach us about nutrition

I know I can't possibly be the only one that is SUPER motivated to work out right now. And yes, it's all because of the London 2012 Olympics and watching the amazingly hot bodies of men like Ryan Lochte (can you tell I'm a bit obsessed?) and the abilities of women like Marlen Esparza.

Well, not only am I really motivated to exercise more but I'm also super excited about the nutrition lessons we can learn from Olympians. It's not easy to keep up those amazing bodies but their advice is also not something that we regular folks can't do, either. Just check out the 5 things Olympians can teach us about nutrition and try them yourself.


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1. Your activity level determines how much you eat: If you're not working out, then you don't need to be eating too many extra calories, right? Well, the opposite is true if you ARE working out. Occasionally I'll feel guilty about eating extra calories after my Zumba class but, the truth of the matter is, I need more energy at that point. Keep track of how many calories you're eating versus burning, of course, but remember that it's okay to fuel up a bit.

2. Make smart choices when it comes to your food: Some Olympic athletes admit to eating junk food during their rigorous training schedules, but many more of them actually keep a pretty standard diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. They cut out highly processed foods, refined sugars and alcohol—all things that aren't good for you (well, except for the occasional glass of wine, of course). Pretty simple, no?

3. Healthy snacking is the KEY to working out: This is actually one of the things that I have been doing for a while and it makes me feel SO good that they don't disagree! With a lot of things going on for the athletes, they find that it's extremely important to not only NEVER skip meals but also have several well-timed snacks throughout the day, a lesson that I learned in my journey to keep off the 100 pounds I lost three years ago and that I keep on doing today.

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4. Don't forget to Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! I'm sure that swimmer Ryan Lochte could teach a whole lesson on how important water is to the human body but the point is that you need to be drinking it ALL THE TIME. This is especially important during exercise when you're sweating, since failing to hydrate properly can lead to a lot of health consequences (including tired muscles, less energy and lots of other things you do NOT want to feel).

5. It's okay to take supplements but be very careful: Personally, I have a multivitamin every single day. While I try to get most of my vitamins from my food, I know that I am sometimes missing certain essentials. Athletes do the same, sometimes taking fish oil and basic minerals like calcium, zinc and iron. The point, though, is to do what makes you feel good—and do your research!

Are you inspired to eat healthier and exercise, thanks to the London 2012 Olympics? What is your favorite nutrition tip from Olympic athletes?

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: exercise  healthy eating  sports stars  nutrition