Hard workouts and endurance events lasting 90 minutes or more can take a toll on an athlete, regardless of gender, leading to decreased performance and longer recovery times.
A proper diet is one of the most effective ways to improve how your body handles these workouts and events. But not all diets are created equal. Men and women have different dietary needs.
Male athletes, who have more muscle mass and less body fat than women because of higher testosterone levels, need to incorporate the right foods and the right amounts into their diet for improved performance and recovery.
Recognizing and adjusting your needs based on gender is the first step to improving your performance and recovery time. Here's how to tweak your diet to focus on proper carb and protein consumption and hydration to improve your workouts.
Carbohydrates are an athlete's main fuel. They are converted to glucose, a form of sugar, which is stored in the muscles as glycogen. When you exercise, your body converts glycogen into energy and stores extra in your liver and muscles when you need it, according to the National Institutes of Health.
You can achieve maximum carbohydrate storage by consuming 70 percent of calories from carbohydrates. When competing, eat your last carbohydrate meal 3 to 4 hours before the event. If the event lasts more than 90 minutes, replenish during the activity.
In general, men need to consume more calories than females and many of these calories should come from carbs, which also help provide energy.
For example: a 180-pound male who has 17 percent body fat would have around 150 pounds of muscle. To properly fuel this body type, he would need nearly 2,100 calories per day, and add 300 to 500 more if he is exercising regularly. Women, in similar shape, would only need around 1,400 calories.
Try: Fresh fruit, dried fruit, baked potatoes, whole grain crackers, energy bars, popcorn and whole-wheat tortillas.