Power lies in the plate

October 05, 2022

Sekaya and endurance athlete and coach Ige Lopez share how good nutrition affects athletic performance

Athletes are considered as the prime examples of peak health. They are more than fit, some even showcasing extraordinary strength, endurance, and speed that can go beyond human expectations. But even the fittest athlete may be facing a health concern or two. Most common of which are nutrient deficiencies, as physically active people require more nourishment to support their high-intensity activities.

Sekaya, the Filipino plant-based brand under Synnovate, the natural products division of UNILAB, and endurance athlete and coach Ige Lopez tackle the close connection between athletic performance and nutrition. Good nutrition plays an essential role in an athlete’s overall health and even in the prevention of injuries and illnesses. It’s a core foundation that helps improve any sport player’s performance. 

“It’s important for athletes to consult nutritionists so they would have an idea on what to eat before a workout, during a workout, and after a workout to make sure they have enough of the nutrients they need to sustain their training and prevent deficiencies,” Coach Ige says. “Pre-workout meals provide fuel for hard or long workouts. What they eat during training is crucial in sustaining their energy. Post-workout meals are also a must as these help with recovery.”

Apart from macros like protein, carbohydrates, and fats, some of the nutrients that athletes need to meet the physical demands of their sports include the following: 

Iron, a common nutrient deficiency among female athletes because of their monthly period, is essential in carrying oxygen to the muscles. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue and affect performance. Potassium is a type of electrolyte that plays a critical role in hydration, which is important for athletes who sweat a lot during training and competitions. Having potassium deficiency can reduce energy and endurance. It can lead to muscle weakness, cramping, and rapid heart rate. 

Magnesium is a mineral that can help muscles relax after working out. Strenuous activities raise magnesium needs by 10-20%, studies have shown. It’s also significant in maintaining bone health. Zinc is most known for supporting the immune system. This is especially crucial for athletes who may miss training or may be asked to sit out if they have a viral infection or illness. It’s also a vital micronutrient in promoting wound healing. 

To help athletes excel and get proper nutrition, Coach Ige suggests eating everything in moderation, sticking to three big and well-balanced meals a day, and fueling their body with real or whole foods. 

“I would advise athletes to eat good carbs from dark leafy veggies and keeping their plates colorful. For snacks, it would be nice to have a combination of fats, carbs, and proteins. Sourdough with olive oil and romaine lettuce and cheese would be a good example. Adding a piece of meat would also help,” he recommends. 

For those who want something sweeter, they can go for plain yogurt, bananas, raisins, almonds, and chia seeds topped with honey. If they have injuries, Coach Ige says it’s best to have more protein sources like lean meat, fish, nuts, and ligaments or litid for collagen, as these will provide nutrients for healing. Those craving for snacks can grab some popcorn, veggie sticks, peanut butter, and fruits. 

Coach Ige also proposes doing batch meal preps on weekends for athletes who don’t have the time to focus on their meals during weekdays. He adds that they can also whip up easy salads by keeping healthy ingredients like romaine lettuce, cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes, onions, and garlic on hand with apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for making a healthy dressing. 

When needed, they can turn to supplements like those offered by Sekaya. The brand offers a roster of high-quality plant-based products that can support an athlete’s health goals and daily wellness. Each product is carefully created in a way that’s easy to include in their daily routine. The carefully curated Sekaya Raw Actives, a line up of nutrient-dense, ready-to-mix superfood powders, can support our daily nutrition requirements and fitness goals. Simply mix with water or any favorite drink, or sprinkle it over dishes. Sekaya Pea Protein is a favorite among athletes as it provides 18g of clean, plant-based protein in every scoop. It is also very easy to integrate into recipes such as pancakes and overnight oats for a healthy power breakfast as well as post-workout smoothies.

Athletes and active people push their bodies to their limits, so it’s crucial for them to be mindful of how they fuel their bodies. They should have a variety of whole foods that can give them enough vitamins and nutrients for better health, performance, and recovery. 

Sekaya is a Filipino plant-based brand that provides natural, science-backed products to support your health goals and daily wellness. Sekaya is under Synnovate, the natural products division of UNILAB. Learn more about how you can benefit from Sekaya’s plant-based solutions, and get health tips and information at https://www.sekaya.com.ph/ and by following @sekayaph on Facebook and Instagram. Sekaya products are available in Watsons, AllGreen, and in the Synnovate Official Stores in Lazada and Shopee.