6 Reasons Your Athletic Performance May Be Lagging

U.S.News & World Report—July 24, 2009

Even the most seasoned athletes can experience lagging and fatigue during workouts and training occasionally. A few factors can trigger a decline in performance – most of them temporary and fixable, but some more serious.

Not getting the correct nutrients in the right amounts can easily still any athlete’s regimen, especially given the popularity of fad diets and eating trends among the body-conscious. It’s important to eat the right amount - not too much, not too little - and also avoid severely limiting carbs, protein, or fat all of which are essential, says Lisa Callahan, MD, co-director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

“And it’s not just what you eat but when you eat,” says Callahan. If you're working out hard or for more than 30 or so minutes, it helps to have something in the tank first. And carbs - preferably from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rather than processed foods - are key after a workout to replace glycogen stores, she says. If you need help figuring it all out, especially if you're also trying to lose weight, consult a sports nutritionist.

Exercise-induced asthma could be another culprit behind lowered levels of performance in athletes. Athletes could be suffering from EIA and not even know it: wheezing and other classic symptoms of asthma may not present in exercise-induced cases. But if you cough after exercise or lose steam midway during your activity, you might be experiencing EIA, says Callahan.

Occasionally, underperformance can be a sign of a more serious or underlying condition, even if an athlete’s symptoms aren’t obvious or a common disease amongst active individuals. Women, in particular, may have very nonspecific symptoms of heart disease ands shouldn’t assume that, because they’re athletic, they’re immune, says Callahan.

To read about the other reasons for underperformance, read the article online at usnews.com.

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