Nutrition and exercise

Exercise and the correct nutrition

Your body is a machine. This means that like any machine it needs the right fuel to perform properly when it is put through its paces. It is already well known that fat-burning and weight-loss exercises are more effective when coupled with a strict diet. But how much of a role does correct nutrition play when providing your body with the nutrients it needs to perform better during exercise? The answer, of course, is quite a bit. To help you get a better understanding of the close relationship between food and exercise, here is a bit more about the nutrients that play an important part in any athlete’s life.

Nutrients to optimize exercise performance

Vitamin B

Vitamin B6, B12, thiamine, riboflavin and folate are all part of the B group. These are also essential for transforming proteins and sugars into energy as well as creating blood cells. This makes them important for the circulation in exercise and maintaining energy levels when performing high-intensity exercises.

Athletes who find they keep hitting walls or failing too soon may find that they are lacking in nutrients from this group. Pork and lean meats, berries, legumes, eggs, fish, grains, liver, avocados, mushrooms, broccoli, green beans spinach and bananas are all foods with these minerals in them.

Calcium

Athletes who engage in high-impact activities are putting themselves at risk of bone and joint injuries. This is why it is essential for them to take in nutrients that aid with building bone density as well as to have a good nutrition regimen. Calcium, which is found in milk and other dairy products is an essential part of any athlete’s diet. For those that are lactose intolerant or have never taken to dairy products, there is also plenty of calcium to be found in leafy greens as well as fortified cereals.

The US Department of Health and Human Services highlights a critical link between calcium and vitamin D:

“Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], also known as calcidiol. The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], also known as calcitriol.

“Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.”

Vitamin C

Putting your body through its paces, especially during the cold months, can put your immune system under incredible strain. This may often lead to the onset of illness. It is estimated that around half of all athletes who work out in cold environments eventually suffer from exercise-related breathing troubles. This makes taking in a mineral that strengthens your immune system essential as well as having a good nutrition regime. Plenty of citrus fruits should therefore be eaten if you are an athlete, to keep your vitamin C levels up.

Potassium

Potassium plays a massive role in balancing the body’s water content. This means that it importantly helps athletes avoid dehydration during times of physical endurance. Furthermore, it helps reduce post-workout cramps, aches and stiffness. Potassium is an essential electrolyte for the human body whether you are active or not. However, for athletes, it is essential if you do not want to have your performance stifled by muscle cramps. Bananas, avocados, tuna and sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium.

Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy

If you would like more information about enrolling in our athletic nutrition course with international accreditation, be sure to contact Trifocus Fitness Academy today. Alternatively, please feel free to visit our website for details on our courses, or for fitness news and blogs. We are waiting for your call today!

Balancing your body with different workout styles
Jaco van Wyk, #TeamTrifocus Brand Ambassador