Athletes have special daily nutritional needs, but these can be complicated. Here are some of the basics you should know. Fats are important for everyone, but especially active muscles need fats to provide long-lasting energy. But not all fats are the same. Choose unsaturated fat, which is found in nuts and most vegetable oils. Saturated fat is found in fatty meat and dairy products like cheese and whole milk. Saturated fat slows digestion, which makes it best to avoid eating fatty foods at least a few hours before exercising.
Athletes’ carbohydrate needs depend on several factors. Their body mass, sex, total energy expenditure, and environment all determine their carbohydrate needs. If carbohydrates are the primary source of energy during intense exercise, they should consume eight to twelve grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per day. However, this number may change. Some athletes require lower carbohydrate intakes during competition, while others may require higher amounts than average.
Before and after exercising, carbohydrates are essential for replenishing electrolytes and maximizing glycogen stores. A general strategy for eating close to an event is to consume 500 ml of fluid two to four hours before the activity. While some athletes may experience digestive discomfort after eating close to the event, this is unlikely to be the case with carbohydrates.
Athletes should aim to consume approximately 30 to 60 g of carbohydrates per hour, or 0.7 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.
Adequate nutrition is vital for athletic performance. For example, athletes have higher energy needs and fluid requirements than the average person. Providing adequate nutrition is important for meeting these requirements, as well as for meeting the specific training schedules that athletes follow. The following are a few nutritional recommendations for athletes. Listed below are several of the main types of foods that an athlete should consume on a daily basis. These foods contain different nutrients essential for an athlete’s performance.
Athletes should include adequate amounts of fat and carbohydrates. These nutrients play important roles in promoting recovery, repairing muscle tissue, and boosting protein synthesis. Protein intake is typically recommended at between 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, with emphasis on post-exercise meals. Protein-rich foods can include meat, nuts, and seeds, as well as dairy products such as milk, cheese, and whole-wheat bread. However, fatty foods should be avoided a few hours before an exercise session to avoid compromising your energy levels.
Athletes have unique nutritional needs compared to sedentary individuals. According to the Institute of Medicine, an average adult needs two to three liters of water daily, whereas an athlete requires much more than this. Fortunately, there are several recommendations for
athletes, based on their unique needs and exercise levels. Listed below are the recommended amounts of water and sodium (chloride) for an athlete’s diet.
The most important thing an athlete can do to stay hydrated while training is to drink enough water. Nearly 60% of the human body is water, so water is lost through sweating. When your urine becomes yellow, you are dehydrated and may need more water. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 16 ounces of water every half-hour during exercise. When exercising, make sure you drink plenty of water before and after training sessions.
During an intense workout, athletes must replenish electrolytes to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can ruin a good workout or lower the training capacity over the course of a season. If fluid volume is reduced by one to two percent, athletes feel more strain and suffer from lower performance. When fluid volume is low, post-workout recovery is also impaired. Fluids are essential for quick delivery of nutrients and removal of waste products.
Sodium and potassium are two essential nutrients for maintaining blood pressure and supporting proper blood flow. The recommended daily allowances are 180-250 mg sodium and 10-100 mg potassium. A good goal for sodium and potassium in sports drinks is to consume at least 10 grams of sodium per eight ounce serving. However, most people do not consume adequate amounts of these nutrients. In addition to sodium, athletes need sufficient amounts of magnesium, which helps regulate heartbeat, regulates blood vessel relaxation, and reduces inflammation. Additionally, magnesium plays an important role in generating electrical impulses which are crucial for cardiovascular health.
The American College of Sports Medicine, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and other organizations have released a position statement on daily nutritional requirements for athletes. This statement summarizes evidence supporting various recommendations regarding protein intake. Athletes should aim to consume 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This amount represents about 10 to 35 percent of a person’s total calorie intake. But more is needed for athletes.
Depending on the type of exercise an athlete performs, daily nutritional requirements vary. Strength athletes should eat a meal high in protein and carbohydrates before and after an exercise. Endurance athletes should eat carbohydrate-rich meals before their workout. Taking a pre-exercise meal at least three to four hours prior to an event will increase the athlete’s energy levels and decrease their risk of gastrointestinal upset.