The close relationship between good health and good nutrition is well established. Interest in nutrition – as well as and its effect on sporting performance is now a proven science in itself. Whether you are a serious competing athlete, a weekend sports player or a devoted daily exerciser, the foundation to better performance is a nutritionally adequate diet.
Sports nutrition is a topic of continual change and has grown as a dynamic area of clinical study. Research continues to advise enhanced nutritional guidelines as well as support for both active adults and competitive athletes. Science recognises sports nutrition and energy intake as the “cornerstone of the athlete’s diet.”
Daily Athletic Nutrition Requirements
The basic athletic diet should be enough to:
- Provide enough energy and nutrients in order to meet the rigorous demands of training and exercise,
- Enhance adaptation – as well as recovery – between training sessions,
- Include a wide variety of foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals, vegetables (predominantly leafy green varieties), fruit, lean meat as well as low-fat dairy products in order to enhance long term nutrition habits and behaviours,
- Enable the athlete to realise optimal body weight and body fat levels for performance,
- Provide adequate fluids in order to ensure maximum hydration before, during and after exercise, and
- Encourage the short and long-term health of athletes.
What Is Sports Nutrition?
The field of sports nutrition is the basis of athletic success. It is a well-designed nutrition plan to allow active adults – as well as athletes – to perform at their best. It supplies the correct food type, energy, nutrients, and fluids in order to keep the body well hydrated and functioning at peak levels. A sports nutrition diet may be different from day to day, depending on specific energy demands.
However, the amount of each food group that an athlete needs will depend on:
- The type of sport,
- The amount of training, which is done, and
- The amount of time the athlete spends doing the activity or exercise.
Individuals tend to overestimate the number of calories which they burn per workout. This means that is important to avoid taking in more energy than the athlete spends exercising. In order to help the athlete to perform better, they should avoid exercising on an empty stomach. Everyone is different which means that the particular sports star will need to learn:
- How long before exercising is best for them to eat?
- What amount food right for them?
Athletes who exercise strenuously for a period of more than 60 to 90 minutes every day may be required to increase the amount of energy which they get from carbohydrates to between 65 and 70%.
More current advice also offers guidelines for carbohydrate and protein based upon grams per kilogram (g/kg) of body weight. The most recent recommendations for fat consumption are for most athletes to follow comparable suggestions to those given for the general community at large, with the preference for fats that come from olive oils, nuts, avocado, nuts as well as seeds.
Athletes should also aim to reduce their intake of high-fat foods such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, chips and fried foods.
If you would like to become a sports nutritionist then you need to do our Sports Nutrition Diploma. For more information, please follow this link.