Proper nutrition for athletes who use their body in a way differently from other people is of extreme importance. Athletes must have high fitness levels to indulge in whichever sport is their forte. Therefore, their diet must have high nutritional value and pack a punch. They also need to be adequately hydrated.
Athletes are extremely physically active. Whether playing soccer, or swimming, tennis or golf, gymnastics or competitive running and the whole range in between, athletes need a lot more calories to ‘fund’ their physical activities.
Proper nutrition for athletes is vital for peak physical performance and is vital for theirs body to stay strong and healthy. So that the body is not depleted of important nutrients.
Different sports have varying nutrition needs. A body builder or a boxer will need different foods and different sources of energy from a gymnast.
For example, one person will need to build muscle mass, the other has to be lean. However, both need endurance.
Proper nutrition for athletes means eating more of the right foods. Athletes need more calories because they go through their calories very fast. But an athlete cannot indiscriminately eat more. He or she has to take in the right foods for optimum nutrition.
But the carbs should be complex as opposed to simple carbs. Complex carbs got from whole grains and fruits, like pear, plum, apple provide a good and readily available source of energy.
However, fats should be eaten so that the food is already digested before needed, otherwise too much of fatty foods actually make the system sluggish.
Proteins ought to be about 1 gram per pound of lean body weight. And it should come from complete protein sources which contain all the essential amino acids.
1. Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6 as also folic acid help maintain the all important energy levels in athletes.
2. Calcium from bioavailable sources help in maintaining bone and teeth strength.
3. The sodium/potassium electrolyte balance needs to be maintained for good hydration.
4. Let us not forget Omega3 fatty acids for heart health as the heart is put to the test during exercise and training.
When we talk of the right balance, what do we mean? Nutrition for athletes means that there should be a fine balance of carbs, fats and proteins.
This may not always be possible and some trainers and dietitians in athletics recommend that supplements can do more good in improving performance and endurance.
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