Excellent nutrition is an important stress management tool for athletes. When our bodies are poorly fed, stress takes an even greater toll on our health. And as athletes put their bodies through increased amounts of stress, good nutrition becomes even more important.
Athletes will have different nutritional needs as compared with the general public. They may require additional calories and macronutrients in order to maintain strength and energy to compete at their optimum level.
Sports nutrition and stress are interlinked.
Why Do Athletes Need Good Nutrition
Nutrition for athletes is essential for supporting their general health and their training requirements. Having a suitable athlete’s diet provides a person with sufficient energy and nutrients in order to meet the requirements of training as well as exercise. In addition to helping an athlete perform optimally, it facilitates recovery.
An athlete’s diet may need to consider the following:
- Their caloric needs,
- Macronutrient amounts and ratios,
- Meal and snack timings,
- Vitamins and minerals for recovery and performance, as well as
Tailoring these concerns to an athlete’s body weight and composition, the amount of time spent training, and the kind of sport they do can improve their performance.
An Athlete’s Diet Is Not Very Different From That Recommended For Any Healthy Person
However, the amount of each food group the athlete needs will depend on:
- The type of sport,
- The amount of training you do, and
- The number of hours that you spend performing the activity or exercise.
People tend to overrate the number of calories they burn per workout so it is essential to stay away from taking in more energy than you spend exercising. To assist you to perform better, avoid exercising on an empty stomach. Every individual is different, so you will need to learn the following:
- How long prior to exercising is best for you to eat?
- How much food is the correct amount for you?
Carbohydrates are required to provide energy during exercise. Carbohydrates are stored mostly in the muscles as well as liver. You need to eat carbohydrates prior to you exercising if you will be exercising for more than one hour. In addition, you need carbohydrates during exercise if you will be doing more than an hour of intense aerobic exercise. Individuals who exercise or train for more than 1 ½ hours should eat or drink more carbohydrates, perhaps with protein, two hours later. Try out a sports bar, trail mix with nuts, yoghurt and granola
Protein is important for muscle growth as well as to repair body tissues. In addition, protein can also be used by the body for energy, but only after stores of carbohydrate have been used up. However, it is also a myth that a high-protein diet will promote muscle growth. Only strength training, in conjunction with exercise, will change muscle.
Athletes, even body builders, require only a little bit of extra protein in order to support muscle growth. Athletes can easily meet this increased need via eating more total calories (eating more food).
Far too much protein in an athlete’s diet:
- Will be stored as increased body fat,
- May increase the chance for dehydration (not sufficient fluids in the body),
- May lead to loss of calcium, and
- May put an additional burden on the kidneys.
Want to learn more about athletic nutrition? If you really do need to do our Athletic Nutrition Course. Follow this link to find out more.