Nutrition and stamina, both are essential for athletes as they provide a source of energy to perform physical activities. Sports nutrition is the basis of athletic success. It is a well-designed plan that helps to provide athletes and adults to perform their best.
It is a customized diet plan that supplies the right mix of energy, nutrition, food type, and fluids. But, the demand for physical energy varies in different sports. So the diet plan is designed depending on individual requirements.
Sports nutrition is mostly unique to each person and is planned according to fitness goals.
The Basic Requirements of Sports Nutrition:-
Proteins are essential for every cell of the human body; they are made from a chain of amino acids. Protein can be incomplete or complete. A protein when it is in a complete form has all the amino acids that are needed by the body.
Protein normally includes different animal sources like – poultry, meat, fish, and milk.
Incomplete protein sources are typically plant-based proteins. They often lack important amino acids required by the body.
The body does not make essential amino acids; they are generally supplied by the diet plan.
Protein plays an important part in the muscle recovery process and growth. It is also essential to repair tissues. Protein requirement varies depending on body type. Ideally, it should be 2 gm to 8 gm body weight per day.
Carbohydrates are either complex or simple but they’re also the most important energy source for the body.
Simple carbs normally include sugars, which are naturally available in foods like milk, fruits, and veggies.
For the intake of healthy complex carbs, the sources are – whole grain, veggies, oats, and potatoes. The digestive system breaks down the carbs in blood sugar or glucose that feeds vital energy to cells and organs of the body.
Carbs are stored in the body in the form of glycogen that can be used during physical activity. During submaximal exercise, carbs are the major source of fuel for the body. Carbohydrate needs in the daily diet can range from 40 to 60%.
Fats are mainly available in two types – Saturated and Unsaturated. Unsaturated fats are considered healthy and they come from plant sources like nuts and olive oil.
Whereas, saturated fats are found in red meat and dairy products. Intake of healthy fats provides energy, helps with body development, maintains cell membranes, and protects vital organs.
Fat is used during low to high-intensity exercises. Fat is also used as a fuel that helps in the production of hormones and lining of nerves for proper physical activities.
It makes it easier for the process of fat-soluble vitamins. Other sources of fats include – red meat, chicken skin, and tropical oil such as coconut oil.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential fatty acids that are important for sports nutrition diet plan. An athlete can consume approx 30 % of total caloric intake as a healthy fat.
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- Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins are required in many body functions and activities that sustain health. Minerals are essential for the structural development of tissues and the regulation of the body process. Green veggies are a good source of vitamins and minerals for the body.
Why is Sports Nutrition so Important?
Food intake has a direct impact on training, strength, recovery, and performance. Meals that you eat before and after your training or any kind of exercise are important in sports nutrition.
But, athletes should be careful regarding the choice of meals and timing. Athletes should eat about two hours before exercising and this meal should be high in carbs and low in fat.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body that also powers the exercise regime. It helps to aid the muscle growth and repair process.
After exercising, you need to replace the carbs lost to ensure proper recovery. The portions of carbs and proteins vary depending on the type of sports played.
The right choice,
You need to know what you’re eating for – strength, endurance, or competition. Depending on the need, you can chart down a diet plan with a fitness coach. Many supplements are available in sports nutrition.
Sports food includes protein bars, supplements, liquid meal supplements, and protein drinks. Medical supplements include calcium, vitamin D, and multivitamins. Performance supplements include creatine, nitrate, and beta-alanine.
Depending on your fitness goals, sports nutrition will play an important role in your success. It can enhance performance and aid the recovery process.