Diet and sports performance

Diet and sports performance

Diet and sports performance

The health and physical performance are directly connected with nutrition, which the scientific studies have proved. Epidemiological studies have proved that certain dietary behavior can be lead to increased risk of developing disorders such as coronary artery diseases, change in blood pressure and even some cancers. These studies have shed light on various aspects of nutritional behavior which mandates control of the diet to reduce the chances of disorders. Interestingly, further study of nutrition connected with performance of sports and food supplementation has also pointed to the need of physical exercises.

For ideal performance for a sportsman, the food intake is of more importance as it supplies the right nutrition. The output here ie, performance has to do with the input which is nutritious food. Also, physical exercise should be carried out to fine tune the body not to cause strain or stress in a athlete or a sportsperson. It should be noted that hard and arduous exercises should be avoided as it causes biochemical and nutritional strains in a sportsperson.

Proper training under a physical trainer or a sports nutritionist should be carried out to avoid wasting of energy. It is estimated that during the laborious physical training a sportsperson may burn thirty percent of the total 24-hour energy. Another important thing to be noted is adequate intake of water.

Carbohydrate particularly muscle glycogen, is needed for a sportsperson as it is the nutrient that contributes during the time of physical exercise. Here one has to understand that muscle glycogen is stored in limited amounts and can exhaust easily during hard exercise. This is why it is advised to avoid stressful exercise of more than one can handle. When the muscle glycogen gets exhausted and low blood glucose leads to fatigue.

One of the other known occurrence is the due to high sweat rate during prolonged physical training is water deficits in the body. This takes place due to the loss of salt, potassium, and magnesium in the sweat. It should be understood that vitamins and trace elements are not. The loss of iron by way of sweat also triggers iron deficiency in a person. This is seen in long distance running. Scientific studies on psychical exercise has pointed out that amino acids are oxidized and protein gets exhausted in the process. While, it is seen that during muscle building training the proteins are retained. But scientific study also suggests that conventional diet is only needed and not nutrition supplement as it is otherwise believed.

No studies suggest that athletes or sportspersons needs additional nutritional supplement instead of food. But in some cases when a person is anemic he or she could go through sports nutritional counseling. These persons can benefit from iron supplements under proper trainer or sports nutritionist. Carbohydrate and water are two nutritional demands required for long physical exercise. Drinking water between training sessions can solve the loss of water from the body. It should be noted that the ideal diet for an athlete or sportsperson coincides with the internationally recognized recommendation for a healthy diet.

Sports nutrition plan for young athletes

It goes without saying how essential is chugging down on the right food to maintain peak performance for young athletes. Failure to take in enough calories can not only weaken performance but can have serious health risks and growth related problems for young athletes. Even though it is recommended to consult a registered sports Nutritionist to track your nutrition needs, not everyone can afford it. In the absence of qualified sports nutritionist, here’s how you athletes can compensate for the extra energy burned and optimise your athletic performance.

sports nutrition

Three group rule

What does a healthy breakfast look like? It is advised to impart a balance in nutrition by having food from all the three food groups. There has been an increasing trend of people skipping breakfast and eating heavily through the day to compensate. This could be avoided by having a light breakfast that consists of carbohydrates, muscular minerals and proteins. When it comes to Calcium, the requirement is higher in athletic adolescents than in normal teens. To safeguard one from the consequences of injury or a fracture, it is crucial to embed iron fortified and dairy foods like yoghurt and cheese. Protein intake is often misconstrued as the only means to build strong muscles. Uncontrolled and excessive proteins can results in dehydration, calcium drainage and other kidney problems.

Stop saying no to Carbs

There is a need to discard the myth of cutting down on carbohydrates or going on a low carbohydrate diet to attune their body to burn fat as major source of fuel. It might be counterproductive and leave the person worn out, tired and devoid of energy. However, candy bars, sodas; sweetened canned fruits must be avoided as they do not have any nutrients that an athlete requires. Even though sugary snacks may give a quick rush of energy initially, it will leave one to “crash” before the workout has been completed. Instead of relying on a low carbohydrate/high protein diet, it is imperative that one knows what comes under healthy carbohydrates and include the same in the meal. Cases of low glycogen stores increase chances for muscle fatigue and the body’s capability to carry out high energy exercises diminishes. There is convincing evidence which suggest that carbohydrate intake is crucial to keep muscle weakness and reduced performance away.

Shun the supplements

It must be amusing to note that caffeine is not just used as a psychoactive drug to pull all nighters but also taken in large amounts by athletes before a workout. Even though the result is increased muscle activity and longer periods of endurance, the long term effects are drastic and can gradually slow down performance.

Anabolic steroid has a reputation for silently tampering with the hormonal system of the body dangerous side effects like erectile dysfunction infertility, baldness and increased risk of prostate cancer in males. It can also have serious impacts on mental health of the consumer by triggering mood swings and clinical depression. Even salt tablets are taken in to avoid dehydration, if taken it large amounts can cause diarrhoea or damage the inner lining of the stomach. Since it has been already established that even a mild dehydration can affect athlete’s performance, electrolyte supplements have been introduced in the market recently. These sodium supplements if taken erratically can turn out to be hazardous. While you do plan on making a purchase of supplements, ensure that non- commercial sites are approached rather than relying on primary information from sellers. Even if the product claims to be natural does not assure its safety.

On game day

Even though one needs to carefully monitor what one has been eating for the past one week, it necessary to pay attention to what you eat on the day of the game. Include a protein and carbohydrate meal like a chicken sandwich, cereal or chicken noodle soup 2-4 hours before the event. In the case of less than 2 hours before the game, a light snack like plums, melons, and other low fibre fruits is recommended. The key is to not consume anything for the hour before the event as the process of digestion demands a lot of energy which you want to use to compete. Excessive eating can make you feel drowsy, bloated and sick.

To combat dehydration, drink plenty of water. Energy drinks consists of electrolytes which may be sugar loaded at the same time. So it is important that you are consistent and do not switch to electrolytes supplements or other energy drinks t stay hydrated. Women tend to be deficient in iron. To receive your daily fill, one needs to rely on leafy green foods, red meat and oat meal.

Best rehydration beverage: Milk

The sports nutrition world would be incomplete without the mention of milk. Research has postulated that milk consumed as a rehydration beverage is as effective as commercially available sports drink. It not increases muscle strengths and helps the athlete keep up with the muscle intensity. Milk consists of carbohydrates which when consumed within thirty minutes gets stored as glycogen for the next activity. When it comes to flavoured milk which delivers all the nutritional benefits, the sugar also gets actively absorbed.

Sleep for sharp alertness

Our vigilance, alertness and reaction time takes a back seat without proper sleep. When it comes to athletes, they have to be quick in perfuming movements and must possess outstanding motor coordination. Athletes who get 7-8 hours of sleep a night is more likely to perform high intensity workouts with ease. Apart from physical strength, it is important to strengthen your mental fortitude. Once you are able to consolidate memories linked to motor skills better, it becomes easy to display body movements.

Stay constantly hydrated and invests in fruits and vegetables which consist of antioxidants with vitamins and minerals. Even after a strenuous exercise, your body is constantly working to rehydrate and to reduce any form of inflammation. This is when it’s crucial to make a balanced recovery meal. Whatever sports nutrition strategy you adopt, planning ahead and maintaining a food log can keep your metabolic pathways work effectively. Experiment with the existing nutrition and be open to trying out new ways.