Finding the right diet is difficult, but these books might make the journey a little bit easier.
As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” If this is true, then an athlete’s performance can only really be as good as the food they are eating. Because of this, wouldn’t any athlete want to eat as best as possible? Sure — but it’s a lot easier said than done.
With so many different diets, principles, and trends in the world of nutrition, it can be challenging to find the eating habits that suit you best. But here are five books that tackle the foundations of good nutrition, particularly suited to an athlete’s lifestyle.
1. Run Fast. Eat Slow.
When you combine the brains of Shalane Flanagan, a New York City Marathon champion and a four-time Olympian, and Elyse Kopecky, a marathon runner and chef, you get Run Fast. Eat Slow. — a cookbook for runners that includes recipes upon recipes that showcase that healthy food can also be delicious and indulgent.
Although this book is primarily geared towards runners, the book hinges upon the foundations of any good diet and proves that counting calories, focusing solely on protein, or following a restrictive diet aren’t always the best paths forward. Instead, the two runners have created a nutrition book that will give you recipes that are easy to follow (and delicious and healthy at the same time), while also giving you the principles you need to eat your way to better performances.
2. The Players’ Plate
As an athlete, you’ve probably had multiple people giving you different, and sometimes conflicting diet tips. Maybe you’ve even struggled to find what works best for you. If this is the case, you need to read The Players’ Plate by track and field athlete Emily Cole, who published this book for the sole purpose of helping athletes on this journey.
In this book, Cole emphasizes that every athlete is different. Thus, she combines stories, insights, and tips from many different people in the sports world, from Olympic medalists to registered dietitians. Through this, you’ll get the basics of sports nutrition, lessons that will help you build a performance-enhancing diet, and guides to help you find balance with your meals.
In this holistic overview of what sports nutrition is really like, an athlete might find what you need to make the right changes to their diet in this book.
3. Not a Diet Book
If you’re an athlete who’s looking for a book that tackles more than just nutrition, read Not a Diet Book: The Must-Have Fitness Book From the World’s Favourite Personal Trainer by James Smith.
Personal trainer James Smith emphasizes that this is not just a book about nutrition. Instead, it is a book about all the tools that he believes an athlete needs to achieve their desired results through dieting, training, and staying in shape. But more than this, his ultimate goal is to help you improve your confidence in all areas of your life by providing practices and principles that can help you improve your habits.
4. Fortify Your Life
There is already so much to think about when it comes to food, calories, and macronutrients, but don’t forget about your micronutrients — AKA your vitamins and minerals. Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More.
There are tons of nutrition supplements out there and it can be difficult to find out which is right for you, or how much to take, or which ones you should avoid. In this book, Dr. Low Dog gives readers the 411 on essential nutritional supplements and how anyone (whether you’re an athlete or not) can create their own supplement plan that caters to their body’s needs. When you’re putting your body under stress with frequent training sessions and competitions, your body can use all the nutritional knowledge it can get.
5. The No Meat Athlete Cookbook
Some athletes are now making the switch to plant-based diets, and if this is something you’re considering yourself, The No Meat Athlete Cookbook will help you figure out how to do just that.
A plant-based diet, especially for athletes, is more than just focusing on fruits and vegetables. It’s also about learning about the composition of different foods, balancing the nutrients in your diet, and ultimately, becoming healthier through whole foods. This cookbook is filled with recipes that will help you get started and help you better understand the importance of a balanced and nutrient-packed diet.
Banner image from Antoni Shkraba.