The Importance of Sports Nutrition
Sports nutrition is the nutrition for athletes and is quantitative science. It is important as it boosts performance. Nutrition for sports is much more than just a high protein diet and so single food solution can increase athletic performance. Read more to know more.
Why is sports nutrition important?
At the most basic level, nutrition is important for athletes because it provides a source of energy required to perform the activity. The food we eat impacts on our strength training, performance and recovery. Not only is the type of food important for sports nutrition but the times we eat throughout the day also has an impact on our performance levels and our body’s ability to recover after exercising.
Before and after exercise are the most important in sports nutrition but you should really be careful with everything that you put into your body. As a general thumb rule, athletes should eat about two hours before exercising and this meal should be high in carbohydrates, low in fat and low to moderate in protein. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy that powers your exercise regime and protein is required to aid muscle growth and repair. After exercising you need to replace the carbohydrates you have lost and you need to ensure proper muscle recovery by including protein in your post training meal.
Nutrient modulation is a very important part of sports nutrition as it involves the special practice of eating a certain amount of protein, facts, carbohydrates to enhance performance. Meal timing and frequency is also important. Also, a lot depends on the type of sport one is involved in, as some athletes would need dietary plan several days before competition such as carbohydrates loading whereas in other maintaining the ideal body weight is of utmost importance for competition.
Good nutrition for athletes means eating food for maintenance of optimum health plus extra nutrients to achieve maximum performance. Many surveys show that majority of the athletes, coaches, trainers do not have the adequate knowledge on nutrition and hence we see most athletes resort to ridiculous nutrition practices and find themselves turning to drugs in an attempt to compensate for poor nutrition.
Benefits of sport nutrition
The ideal diet for an athlete is not very different from the diet recommended for any healthy person. And while certain sports require the athlete to fit a certain sport, require the athlete to fit a certain weight group or body fat, the benefits to nutrition in sports spans beyond just aesthetics:
· Enables you to train longer and harder
· Delays onset of fatigue
· Maintains a healthy immune system
· Enhance performance
· Improves recovery
· Improves body composition
· Reduces potential of injury
· Helps with focus and concentration
Nutrition in sports Nutrient Timing
When it comes to nutrition in sports, nutrient timing begins to play a role for the purpose of performance. To maximise the training session, it's important to look at pre, during and post nutrition Not only that, there night be other nutrient timing demands to align in time for game day/competition. Again the requirement will depend on the individual and the sport. This is also where at times, it might result in having to look at packaged source of energy i.e. energy gels, protein shake etc. While this should be avoided where possible, at the end of the day training for sport is different than training for health. You want to isolate and maximise nutrients at certain specific times which isn't always possible with whole food.
Who can benefit from sports nutrition
Meeting energy requirements through whole food source is essential in order to function and perform at your peak! Anyone can benefit from looking at nutrition for sports, not just elite athletes. Certainly, we are seeing more and more people take training to the next level, competing in triathlons, marathons and obstacle races.