Whether you are exercising to improve your health, a professional athlete or a bodybuilder, the sports nutrition plays a vital role in optimizing beneficial effects of physical activity. Choosing a right nutrition can result in injury prevention, improved performance, and recovery.
According to Thomas Edison, “The doctor of future will no longer treat human frame with drugs, rather will prevent and cure disease with nutrition”.
In order to support your goals and health, different nutrition professionals offer a number of services. Moreover, these nutrition can range from a daily food diary, to comprehensive nutrition and food plan for competitions and training.
Here we will explore the importance of sports nutrition, and how a sports nutritionist can support our training regime. Also, they covered supplements and nutrients that are frequently included in the dietary program of athletes. We will discuss these things in details.
The importance of sports nutrition
Consuming balanced food and drink is very important for us all. However, people that are actively participating in sport on a routine basis should know that it can also affect their performance. For instance, athletes, may require more calories compared to average people.
Those who are athletes, or even people that make up their mind to start exercising on a daily basis, should not let a good nutrition plan fall down on their list of priorities.
Sports performance and the energy
Protein, carbohydrates, and fats all provide our body with fuel to maintain the energy. Furthermore, carbohydrates are a primary fuel used by our working muscles. The adequate intake is necessary for preventing muscle fatigue. You are advised to monitor the fat intake, but do not completely remove it from the diet.
Fats provide fatty acids in our body that can be used an energy source – especially if your exercise sessions last more than an hour. These fats also provide the building blocks for hormones as well as formation of cell walls.
Proteins can be used as an energy source and they are critical for building new muscle tissues. People that are taking part in resistance training, their body will require additional protein.
Eating well is very important to maintain a healthy weight. So, if you are trying to lose weight, strictly reducing fat, calorie intake or protein can have a negative impact on your performance. Meanwhile, it can also rigorously harm your body.
Some specific and useful foods that you should be a part of the diet for the optimum sports nutrition include:
· Whole grains
· Healthy fats.
· Hydration, and
· Sources of lean protein as well as low-fat dairy products
Staying hydrated is of utmost importance, especially when you are taking part in any sport. The inadequate fluid intake can lead to dehydration. It also affects the performance, and could be dangerous for health as well.
Although dehydration can occur in any activity, it is very prevalent when exercising in humid and hot conditions. The perfect thing for re-hydration is water, but it is advised to use sports drinks with electrolytes, for those who are engaged in the physical activity for longer than an hour.
After the event
You are highly advised to avoid neglecting your nutritional needs, if you have had to walk the last half-mile of your run due to fatigue or even the things have not gone according to your plan in your game. No matter what the result is, it should be your priority.
Footballers, casual runners, athletes, and others typically do not consume enough fluids when they take part in different events, or training. So, it is very important to restore the balance after every event. The water is perfect for rehydration.
How nutrition professionals can help?
The major aim of a dietitian or sports nutritionist is to create a nutrition plan for the training needs of different clients. The plans will incorporate hydration and food. It does not matter whether you are training for professional events or exercising casually, sports nutrition is very integral to performance.
· Enhance recovery.
· Promote good health
· Increase energy levels
· Help manage weight
· Develop growth and body composition
· Improve concentration
In order to create an effective nutrition strategy, sports nutrition professionals should always assess not just your diet and training, but also day-to-day habits, lifestyle, supplements and whether you are taking any medication. Nutrition professionals should also support as well as be able to analyze you with your short-term and long-term goals.
The 2 key forms of carbohydrates are, 1. Starchy or complex, and 2. Simple sugars.
Complex carbohydrates, are also known as the starches, and they include grains such as pasta, rice and bread. Just like simple sugars, some complex carbohydrates are better than others. Processed refined grains like, white flour and white rice are less favorable because the fiber and nutrients are removed.
Rather, nutritionists recommend that where possible, people should opt for unrefined grains that are still packed full of minerals, fiber and vitamins.
Whereas, the simple sugars can be found in refined products and provide a sweet taste. These are naturally found in fruits, vegetables and milk products.
We can also add them to our foods using honey, white or brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses, etc. Although all types of sugars that we eat are used by our body in the same way, but it is highly suggested to get simple sugars from foods that are rich in sugars naturally because such foods also contain important nutrients and fiber.
It is an essential component of every diet because it is a great source of energy as well as helps our body to absorb nutrients.
Although fats are very important, but we should still monitor the quantity of intake. Using a lot of fats could result in excess weight gain and in increased risks of severe health concerns.
The saturated fats can easily be found in different animal products as well as processed foods like, chips, meat and dairy products. Such fat type is not considered to be healthy for the human heart and is thought to raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
Avocados, nuts, oily fish and olives are rich in unsaturated fats. Such fats are considered to be healthy for our heart and can work to raise good (HDL) cholesterol levels as well as lower the LDL cholesterol levels.
Every cell of our body contains it and due to this reason protein is important for helping to repair and build tissues. Proteins are also used to make hormones, enzymes and a number of additional body chemicals. Furthermore, proteins are very crucial for forming the building blocks of bones, blood, cartilage, skin and muscles.
Some of the most common protein foods include fish, meat, eggs, nuts, soya products, seeds and pulses.
Different bodybuilders, sportsmen and athletes use supplements to boost their performance, recovery and strength. Supplements are available in a number of forms ranging from minerals and multivitamins through to creatine, protein and many other ‘ergogenic’ aids.
You are advised to ensure that your diet is balanced, healthy and suits your sport, before opting to take any form of supplement. It is also advised to consult a registered nutritionist or an accredited sports dietician before if you have decided to take additional nutrients in supplemental form. These experts can assess your suitability for a particular supplement.
Some common sports supplements include the following:
It is a high-energy compound which helps to provide and store energy. It is produced within our body, and is naturally available in meat and fish. It can also be taken in the form of supplements.
In order to increase muscle strength, creatine is used by sportsmen and athletes as a dietary supplement. It is intended to boost performance during frequent, high-intensity exercise and also help you train for longer.
A natural protein which is naturally present in milk, and contains very little carbohydrate, lactose or fat. It is considered a naturally complete protein, which means whey is made up of all essential amino acids that are required in our average daily diet.
Also housing the perfect combination of amino acids, this protein also contains branch chain of amino acids (BCAAs) that are the 1st ones to be used while intense training. Whey provides our body with these amino acids and in turn they assist with rebuilding and repairing lean muscle tissue.
Whey protein is extremely easy to digest so it can provide instant nourishment to our muscles and can absorb quickly.
It is extremely important to stay well hydrated during training and exercise. Even a little amount of dehydration could be detrimental to your performance levels. Although, drinking water is considered a good way to keep ourselves hydrated during exercise. Still, some bodybuilders and athletes opt for energy drinks, especially people that undertake endurance events like long distance running.
A number of energy drinks consist of sodium and other electrolytes that encourage drinking and help us to stimulate thirst. They also enhance our body’s ability to hold the water. Furthermore, carbohydrates contained in many energy drinks and can provide us with extra energy which may be needed in the latter stages of training.
This article is reviewed by an experienced dietitian, and is provided for general information purposes only. People having trouble with their dietary plans are advised to consult specialists.