Many times I've been asked about sports nutrition on what should an athlete eat so as to be able to perform at peak performance during training and events.
A great amount of strain is experienced by the body during workouts. The body will require a lot of energy for its consumption during these periods. To be able to perform well, the body will need to have strong muscles and sufficient energy to undergo the intense physical activities.
For the past many years, a lot of arguments have surfaced regarding what is the optimal diet for the athletes that will enable them to perform at their best potentials. All over the world, dietitians have different opinions on the best food plan for their athletes. There's no sign of these arguments stopping soon. In fact, we can expect them to continue on for the coming years ahead.
Despite the various arguments, many people agree that optimal nutrition can enhance performance levels and recovery in intense physical activities. They do agree that the intake of appropriate food and fluids at the right time and the use of appropriate supplements are vital to having optimal health and performance for these athletes.
The body needs plenty of energy during intense physical activities. The energy comes mainly from carbohydrates. They are stored in the muscles as glycogen and provide the fuel required for the short intense burst of energy. More glycogen is used up in more intense and longer duration activities. You'll have to stop exercising when your glycogen is depleted as your energy levels will be way down. To maintain sufficient glycogen in the muscles, you'll need to eat enough carbohydrates. Experts says that for every pound you weigh, you'll need 3.6g of carbohydrates daily. Therefore, if you're weighing 140lbs, you'll be needing 504g of carbohydrates everyday.
Protein is required for muscle building as it is the basic building material for muscle tissue. Athletes, especially those doing strength training, will need plenty of protein to build those muscles. The recommended daily protein requirement for serious strength athletes is 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.
Besides carbohydrates and protein, fat is also an essential nutrient. Fat provides fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins to the body. Moreover, a moderate amount of energy is also provided by fat. But it is not healthy to consume too much of it. Unsaturated fat should provide only 20% to 25% of your total calories requirement for each day.
It is important for athletes to be well hydrated. Additional to the normal daily requirement of consuming 8 glasses of water, they should also have fluid intake before, during and after exercises and races to compensate for the fluid loss during these periods. Two hours before any workouts, you should drink 2 cups of fluid. Every 15 to 20 minutes during the workouts, you should drink 4 to 8 ounces of fluid to keep hydrated. Drink 16 ounces of fluid after the fluid to replenish fluid lost. To be more precise, you can weigh yourself before and after workouts. Drink 16 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during these workouts.
When your workouts are prolonged, lasting more than 1 hour, energy bars and sports drinks can help you to keep energized. Besides providing energy, you'll also get to be hydrated by sports drinks. After workouts, it's important to eat some protein and carbohydrates to help repair and rebuild your muscle tissues and to refill your glycogen stores.
During workouts, you can give your muscles a slight power boost by consuming creatine. In order to realize its benefits, you'll need to do this in combination with a good diet and a good training program. A good source of creatine is found in meat. This nutrient can also be obtained from supplements. To give your muscles an initial boost, consume 5g of creatine monohydrate 4 times a day. Do this for 5 consecutive days. Then, everyday take 2g for maintenance.
I've shared with you some great information on eating right for peak performance. Apply these sports nutrition tips to help you perform at your best in sports.
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