Friday, December 2, 2016

Sport Nutrition for Health and Performance

There is no doubt how much nutrition plays a part within sports and overall fitness. During times of physical activity, energy and macro-nutrient needs must be met in order to maintain body weight, replenish glycogen stores, and provide adequate protein for building and repair of tissue.1 In order to perform at an optimal level, one has to provide their body with the correct nutrients by having a balanced diet.

What does it mean to have a “balanced diet”?

The term is used by many professionals; however, consumers fail to know what exactly it means to have a “balanced diet.” A balanced diet for most people should consist of: 60% Carbohydrates, 30% Fat, 10% Protein, Vitamins, minerals and water. For an athlete,  the percentages increases greatly due to being more active than the normal individual and their ability to burn nutrients more rapidly.2
Macro-nutrient requirement

Carbohydrates are essential for prolonged activities such as aerobic training and prior to competition. “The amount required depends upon the athlete’s total daily energy expenditure, type of sport performed, sex of the athlete, and environmental conditions.”1
Fats are essential for energy, fat-soluble vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
Proteins are essential following prolonged and strenuous activities in order to refuel the body and promote muscle rejuvenation.1
Hydration is especially important when discussing fitness. The body is made up of approximately 60-70% of water. During exercise, it is common for one to sweat which causing fluid loss. It is highly important to replenish those fluids lost in order to maintain a homeostatic balance within the body.2

Pre and post workout or competition

Before competition
An athlete’s meal should consist of higher carbs in order to sustain their energy requirements. The type of protein they choose should be easily digestible and kept at a minimum as well as their fats. Athletes should maintain their fluid intake throughout the day and throughout their competition.
During competition
Is it important for the athlete to steady their energy, This is done so by consuming fluid as well as carbs within sport drinks or small items such as granola or small fruits.
After competition
Post competition is the most important factor when dealing with an athlete’s nutrition. It is highly important that an athlete replaces everything they have recently burned off throughout competition. This is most effective by providing the athlete with more protein and healthy fats in order to restore and repair their muscles.

1Manore, M., Meyer, N. L., & Thompson, J. (2009). Sport nutrition for health and performance. Human Kinetics.United States Department of Health and Human Services and

2United States Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Washington (DC): US Government Printing Office; 2005.

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