Sports Nutrition is the process and research of diet and nutrition with regards to enhancing anyone’s athletic performance in whatever sport they happen to play. Sports nutrition is popular with all sports trainers as well as athletes, being equally important in high-performance endurance sports like marathon running and triathlon, and lower impact sports like swimming, cycling, and track and field. There has been a lot of research done on the relationship between nutrition and athletic performance and much of that research is directly relevant to athletes. This article will discuss a few of the current hot topics in sports nutrition research. What has been discovered is that nutrition effects the body in different ways that can help optimize performance.
One of the most predominant areas of sports nutrition research is found with regard to the effect nutrition has on physical strength and power. Researchers have been investigating if there is a relationship between nutrition and athletic performance for many years. There is definitely a strong relationship between nutrition and physical strength and power, as demonstrated by the massive amount of research done on athletes and nutrition. The study of nutrition effects on athletic performance traces its roots back to long before the development of muscle mass in humans and perhaps even before the start of recorded human history.
Long before there was running, walking, and climbing, there were cavemen and women going about their daily physical activity. Researchers have found a variety of different nutrients are necessary to maintain human health and energy levels during physical activity. Sports nutrition focuses on providing the athlete with the necessary nutrients and vitamins to support their strength and power training programs, but the real focus of this area of sports nutrition is explaining how nutrition effects of physical activity and how this relates to athletes.
As was mentioned above, there is a strong relationship between nutrition and physical strength and power. It is also true that nutrition helps improve endurance, which is another key element to peak performance. If you think about it, sports nutritionists and fitness experts have found a very direct relationship between nutrition and physical exercise: the more physical exercise an individual performs, the more energy and nutrients are consumed. This is because the body must expend more energy (through oxygen) to move an additional weight (through calories). So in a nutshell, we can sum up this area of sports nutrition research by saying the more an athlete uses his or her muscles – the more nutrients the athlete will require fuel that activity.
Another area of sports nutrition research has explored the effect that nutrition has on exercise performance. What have researchers discovered is that carbohydrate intake (the most common nutrient in most diets) directly influences endurance (the ability to exercise for a given amount of time). However, one nutrient that plays a larger role than most athletes realize is protein. This nutrient is also important to maintaining muscle, which is one of the keys to achieving peak performance during exercise.
Athletes need to consume large amounts of carbohydrates to fuel their strength training workouts. This is because the carbohydrates provide the energy needed to stimulate the muscles. For those that are trying to lose weight, a large increase in body fat can reduce your ability to exercise as efficiently. This is why you see many professional athletes including power lifters and bodybuilders increasing their protein intake during strength training sessions.
One of the most common mistakes made by athletes and others who are new to the world of sports nutrition is skipping breakfast. This is extremely dangerous, because when an athlete skips breakfast, he or she dramatically increases the amount of calories that they require to gain physical strength and energy. In addition, the consumption of calories before and after a workout drastically affects the body’s ability to repair itself. In this way, the consumption of dietary supplements (such as protein bars and sports nutrition shakes) can greatly help an athlete to stay physically fit during athletic competition.
Finally, athletes should always remember that what goes into the mouth does far more for your body than what it does for your head. As you may know, carbohydrates are used by the brain to provide it with the fuel it requires to function. Carbohydrates also supply glucose, which is used by the body to release energy. Therefore, if you’re looking to succeed in the area of sports nutrition, eating a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is very important. And no, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be chowing down on four Big Macs and a Big Girl Ice Cream each day.
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