Athletic performance doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a long process of fine-tuning your training program and diet to achieve the best results. Texas olive oil is an easy addition to your pantry that can help your body perform better and recover faster. The extra virgin olive oil from Texas Hill Country Olive Co. is rich in antioxidants to fight fatigue. It lowers your cholesterol levels and keeps your heart healthy. It helps your muscles and your bones. And it tastes amazing.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the benefits this golden liquid brings to athletes.
Your energy levels throughout the day are influenced significantly by the nutrients you consume. Your body turns food into energy, but not all foods are equal when it comes to fueling your daily activities. Getting the right mix of macronutrients (carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins) is essential for stable energy levels and your overall health.
Low-fat diets might seem appealing – especially if you are working towards lowering your body fat percentage – but they are sure to leave your energy reserves empty. Fat is the main source of fuel your body uses when you perform low-intensity sports for a long time, such as marathons or triathlons.
High-intensity activities such as sprints or HIIT are fueled by carbohydrates, but it’s important to remember that the energy from carbs can’t be released if there isn’t enough fat in your diet. When you lead an active lifestyle that involves plenty of exercise – be it endurance or cardio – you should aim to get 20%-30% of your daily calorie intake from fat.
Healthy fats are best, and they come in the form of monounsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and polyunsaturated fats such as fish and nuts. You should avoid consuming a lot of saturated and trans fats from butter, fatty cuts of meat, fried foods, and coconut or palm oil – these can negatively impact your athletic performance and your health.
If you ever experienced stomach cramps during training or a competition, you know how important it is to time your meals perfectly before performing an intense or prolonged activity. And while fats in general are notorious for their slow digestion, EVOO is an exception. It is highly absorbable in the intestine and even reduces gastric fluids, improving digestion.
Increasing your muscle mass is vital to improving your athletic performance. Your muscles grow when muscle protein synthesis occurs faster than muscle protein breakdown. Muscle growth is influenced by your nutrition just as much as your training regimen, and it’s not just about protein either.
The level of testosterone in your body directly impacts your ability to build and maintain your desired amount of muscle mass. Extra virgin Texas olive oil is the best fat source to consume for muscle building; it increases the rate at which cells absorb cholesterol and convert it to testosterone.
Contrary to what most people may think, your muscles don’t grow when you exercise; that’s when your muscle fibers sustain damage that causes micro-tears. The growth happens during recovery when your muscles repair and rebuild. Giving your muscles time to recover and healthy nutrients will ensure you see progress after your training sessions.
EVOO is an excellent addition to your post-exercise meals due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in omega-3 monosaturated fats and oleocanthal, the latter having similar effects to ibuprofen. When consumed daily, a high-quality EVOO will help reduce muscle pain and stiffness to aid recovery after exercise.
As an athlete, you are in one of two states at all times: exercise or recovery. But your muscles aren’t the only ones that exercise puts a strain on and recovery helps strengthen. Your bones are also impacted by your training program and fractures or injuries can keep you on the bench for weeks or even prevent you from practicing your favorite sport again.
The health of your bones should be one of your main focuses and you can look after it in the kitchen. Calcium-rich foods are better absorbed and utilized by your body than calcium supplements but you should always talk to a medical professional about the recommended amount of calcium you need to consume.
Studies have shown that adding enough fats to your daily diet is another surefire way to ensure the repair and development of bone density. EVOO in particular is recommended for maintaining healthy bones due to the oleic acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids it contains. Combined, these two acids have been proven to reduce the risk of fractures significantly.
Now that we’ve seen why extra virgin olive oil is a nutritional powerhouse for athletes, let’s look at a few easy ways to incorporate it into your diet. According to studies, the recommended amount of EVOO you should consume daily when you have an active lifestyle is two-three tablespoons.
For breakfast, replace the butter on your toast with Texas olive oil and serve warm with a poached egg or an avocado. If you have a sweet tooth and prefer starting your day with a sweet breakfast, add two tablespoons of EVOO to your porridge bowl, together with your favorite fruit, a handful of nuts, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey.
At lunchtime, roast your favorite vegetables with EVOO, salt, and pepper, and serve with your protein of choice. Making a bigger batch on a Sunday will help with meal prep throughout the week. EVOO is also an easy dressing for salads when you’re in a hurry and works well with balsamic vinegar over any veggies.
For dinner, use Texas olive oil to marinate your meat or tofu. Cook in the oven and serve with rice and a green salad. Pasta salads are another great alternative for your dinner and can be served hot or cold, so you can make them in advance. Use a glug of EVOO to keep the pasta from drying.