Proper Nutrition for Athletes

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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.

Proper nutrition for athletes.

Why the nutritional needs of athletes are different from that of other people

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.

Eating more, eating right

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.

  • Carbohydrates. Eating more carbohydrates is good. Because carbs provide the main fuel for athletes particularly for those who doing high intensity exercise for short periods of time. So they burn most energy from carbs and that is why a diet, which comprises 65-70 percent carbs, is recommended for them.

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.

  • Fats. The right quantity of fats is vital. Because fats take longer to digest, they provide fuel for a long time. For moderate intensity of exercise, which last for four to six hours, an athlete uses fat as fuel first and then uses carbs.

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 are necessary because athletes are needed to build muscle, for repair and growth and for energy. However proteins are not a source of primary energy. And as a fuel it can give 2% to 10% of total energy expenditure depend on intensity and type of exercise.

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.

  • Vitamins and minerals should be adequate as they help in the absorption of carbs, proteins and fats and act as antioxidants.

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.

More about electrolytes here.

4. Let us not forget Omega3 fatty acids for heart health as the heart is put to the test during exercise and training.

Athlete Diet Nutrition: What is the right balance?

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.

  • The correct balanced athletes diet and athletes nutrition that is a key for optimum performance and energy. It would comprise 50 to 70 percent of carbs of which at least 80 to 90 percent should be from complex carbohydrate sources. The rest can come from simple sources like sugar and fruits.

  • Proteins must comprise 15 to 25 percent of the foods. These can come from meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds and legumes.

  • Fats ought to form 15 to 30 percent of the diet and more of the fat should be unsaturated like canola or olive oil.


The role of supplements in proper nutrition for athletes

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.

Herbalife, as a nutrition sponsor of professional athletes and teams makes various products especially for athletes.

Nutrition products for professional athletes Herbalife24:

Nutrition products for fitness and energy:

are helpful in optimizing the nutritional intake of athletes.

athletes diet nutrition

More to read:

Athlete nutrition: the right nutrients at the right time. Nutrition before, during and after sport event.

Often fitness nutrition information is contradictory. How would you know what is right for your needs?

Healthy diet and nutitional needs for female and vegetarian athletes.

Athlete nutrition guidelines. How to manage athletes nutrition and diet for best result.

What are energy drinks? How do you differentiate and find out which is the best?

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