Sports nutrition is the foundation of athletic success. It is a well-designed nutrition plan that allows active adults and athletes to perform at their best. It supplies the right food type, energy, nutrients, and fluids to keep the body well hydrated and functioning at peak levels.
Sports nutrition is unique to each person and is planned according to individual goals. A sports nutrition diet may vary day to day, depending on specific energy demands.
Eat a Balanced Diet Every Day
To exercise consistently, you need to provide a good supply of high-quality energy to your working muscles. The easiest way to do this is to eat a balanced breakfast and continue eating a variety of high-quality foods throughout the day.
Carbohydrate in the form of glycogen is the fuel that makes exercise possible, so adequate carbs should be eaten each day if you intend to train consistently. Protein and fat also have a place in your diet and should be consumed daily.
In general, each meal should contain a varied combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Athletes may also require a diet slightly higher in B vitamins and iron than their not as active peers. And vegetarian athletes have even more reason to pay attention to their diet in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
A balanced diet generally consists of plenty of fruits and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables), high-quality proteins (such as lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes), adequate fibre, whole grains, and essential fats. Plenty of pure water is also the drink of choice for athletes.
Sports Nutrition Basics: Macronutrients
The energy required for living and physical activity comes from the food we eat and fluid intake. Macronutrients in the following food
groups supply the energy essential to optimal body functions:
Are either simple or complex and the most important energy source for the human body. Simple carbs
include sugars naturally occurring in foods like fruits, vegetables, and milk. Whole grain bread, potatoes, most vegetables, and oats are examples of healthy complex carbs. Your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into glucose or blood sugar which feeds energy to your cells, tissues, and organs.
Are made up of a chain of amino acids and are essential to every cell of the human body. Protein can either be complete or incomplete. A complete protein contains all the amino acids needed by the body and includes animal sources like meat, fish, poultry and milk. Incomplete protein sources (typically plant-based proteins) often lack one or more of the essential amino acids.
Can be saturated or unsaturated, and they play a vital role in the human body. Unsaturated fats are considered healthy and come from plant sources like olive oil and nuts. Saturated fats are found in animal products like red meats and high-fat dairy, which are indicated to increase the risk of disease.
Roles of a Sports Dietitian
Athletes and active adults are seeking guidance from sports professionals to enhance their athletic performance. Sports dietitians
are increasingly hired to develop nutrition and fluid programs catered to individual athletes or teams. A unique credential has been created for sports nutrition professionals:
Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). Sports dietitians should have knowledge in the following areas:
- Clinical nutrition
- Nutrition science
- Exercise physiology
- Evidence-based research
- Safe and effective nutrition assessments
- Sports nutrition guidance
- Counselling for health and athletic performance.
- Medical nutrition therapy
- Design and management of effective nutrition strategies
- Effective nutrition programming for healthy, fitness, and optimal physical performance