Nutrition and Sports Performance

The scientific literature contains an abundance of information on the nutritional demands of athletes. However, designing a suitable dietary regime can be difficult. Designing the most suitable diet for an athlete requires intimate knowledge of the relevant scientific literature, the training and competitive demands of the sport, the social influences and individual preferences of the athlete. There is evidence to suggest that the timed ingestion of carbohydrates, proteins and fat may significantly affet the adaptive response to exercise (Pramukova, Szabadosova & Soltesova, 2011). Moreover, dietary supplements can also play a meaningful role in assisting athletes consume the proper amount of calories, carbohydrates and protein in their diet (Pramukova, Szabadosova & Soltesova, 2011). The first component to optimize training and performance through nutrition is to ensure the athlete is consuming enough calories to offset energy expenditure. The components of energy expenditure are grouped into three categories: metabolic rate, thermic effect of feeding and the energy spent in normal daily and exercise activities. Individuals who participate in a general fitness program (30 to 40 minutes per day, three times per week) can typically meet their nutritional needs by following a standard diet (35kcals/Kg/day). However, athletes involved in moderate levels of intense training (2 to 3 hours per day, five to six times per week) or high volume intense training (3 to 6 hours per day of intense training in 1 to 2 workouts for five to six days per week) need to consume 50 to 80kcals/Kg/day. Yet, the caloric loads for heavier athletes (100 to 150 kg) is even greater.

Pramukova, B., Szabadosova, V. & Soltesova, A. 2011. Current knowledge about sports nutrition. Australiasian Medical Journal, 4, 3, 107-110.

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