sPhysical activity undoubtedly plays an important role in health. However, exercise is not a sport that needs to be treated differently, including nutrition, exercise is very demanding on the body and needs to be considered in terms of energy needs. In principle, athletes should eat based on reference levels of nutrient intake. In this article I am listing the top 10 nutritional requirements for athletes.
Top 10 Nutritional Requirements For Athletes
For competitive athletes, the situation is different. Their demand for energy is increasing, and the demand for carbohydrates, protein and trace elements is slightly higher. To get a good amount of protein and carbohydrates here are the top 10 nutritional requirements for athletes.
1. Keep Your Body Energised With Carbohydrates
Our body’s main energy source lies in the stored glucose in our body. Carbohydrates are changed into glucose, which is then stored in our muscles in the form of glycogen.
Whenever we do any form of activity, our muscles use this glycogen in the form of energy. Our major intake of glucose happens through the consumption of carbohydrates.
For workouts that are below 90 minutes, are body usually has enough energy stored for it. However, when we exceed this time period and our body is used to generate more energy, we have to follow strict rules of diet to ensure that we are getting carbohydrates.
Athletes should ideally be eating a diet which gets about 70% of its calories from carbohydrates. Such a meal can include bread, fruit, and vegetables.
On the day of competition, athletes should ideally eat their meal 3 to 4 hours before exercising. This gives time for the food to digest and store glycogen.
2. Limit Your Overall Fat Intake
For extremely strenuous physical events, such as marathons, our body turns to the fat deposits for energy when carbohydrate sources start depleting.
Most athletes consume the required amount of fat they need by following the dietary guidelines which their trainers find most suitable for them. They mostly consume unsaturated fat from foods such as nuts, olives, vegetable oils, and fatty fish.
However, excessive fats and especially saturated fats can be extremely unhealthy and come in the process of maintaining a healthy physique. Fatty foods on the day of an event should be avoided since they can upset your stomach or make you feel lethargic.
3. Keep Drinking Water Throughout The Day
Intense practice and strenuously training can quickly lead to dehydration. Although in a lot of cases athletes do not feel dehydrated, their muscles cannot work as efficiently due to the lack of water. This affects their overall performance.
Intense exercise, especially in humid and scorching weather can make the athletes dehydrated. Dehydration affects your performance and can also threaten your life if not tested with proper amounts of fluid.
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Athletes should keep sipping on water throughout the day and especially the hour before practice. To keep a check on their body’s water content, athletes should keep an eye out for the colour of their urine as well.
4. Consume Controlled Portions Of Proteins
Protein is required to keep your muscles strong and maintain your muscle density. The purpose behind the consumption of protein is not energy production, but the maintenance of muscles.
According to a person’s body weight, they require around 1.2 grams of protein every day. Athletes need to consume proteins above the suggested portion size for an average adult.
However, too much protein can harm the body. It puts your kidneys under undue strain. Athletes should look at consuming whey protein and protein from sources like milk, eggs and poultry. Protein powder for athletes also provides optimal protein requirements.
5. Have A Wholesome Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal for any person. For athletes, it is even more so. It sets the tone for the day and how their body will act throughout the day.
Athletes should ideally incorporate three food groups in their breakfast. Ideally, it should be a protein, whole grains, and fruit. An example of this can be eggs, whole-wheat toast, and bananas.
Such breakfast makes sure they get all the nutrients required for a strong body and good performance.
6. Nutrition Is Key For Fitness
Fitness is the key to any athlete’s performance. Whenever they get injured, they should concentrate on consuming more proteins and fewer carbohydrates.
Athletes should also include sources of calcium and Vitamin D to ensure that have good bone density. Without good health, good performance is not feasible.
7. Need For Continuous Replacement Of Electrolytes
Sweating removes fluids and necessary electrolytes from your body. Electrolytes help to transmit nerve signals in your body, which helps you to coordinate your muscle activities.
In order to replenish them, you should drink sports drinks. A lot of people also lose a lot of fluids as they sweat. For them, they can dilute sports drinks with equal amounts of water to get a balance of fluids and electrolytes.
8. Drink Loads Of Milk
Not only is milk a good source of protein, but it is also full of vitamins and minerals necessary for keeping your bones healthy. Milk also helps to keep your fluid intake high. Athletes are required to drink around 2-3, glasses of milk every day.
9. Get Enough Sleep
If your muscles are tired, they will not be able to perform well under strain. It is important to rest as much as you practice.
Resting gives your entire body not only the time to recover but also provides your entire body with adequate amounts of oxygen. Without enough sleep, your body will become tired and weak and athletes will be unable to perform.
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10. Take Rest Days
Taking off a day or two from training is important. You need your muscles to rest, recover and grow. On rest days, you should completely abstain from any forms of strenuous activity and solely focus on having a good balanced diet. This will help enhance your performance and keep your body in top form.