Sports Nutrition is the comprehensive study and experimentation of diet and nutrition with regards to enhancing anyone’s athletic ability. Diet and nutrition are key elements of any successful training program, being equally important in competitive strength sports and recreational endurance sports as well. A well balanced diet will provide the necessary fuel for vigorous exercise, building muscle strength and endurance while helping to reduce your risk of injury and maintaining a healthy weight. Sports nutrition research has shown that a well planned and executed diet can not only help you to build lean muscle mass and reduce your risk of injury, but it can also greatly improve your sports performance, contributing towards your overall health and wellbeing.

One of the key components of a successful sports nutrition program is good hydration. Our body needs a steady supply of water to perform at its optimum level. While water is naturally cleansing, most people consume too much and then the result is dehydration, which can negatively affect your performance and concentration. Water should be consumed throughout the day preferably in the morning upon waking and ideally at least eight hours before and after any athletic activity. In the evening, drinking a glass of cool water with dinner can significantly help relieve the symptoms of dehydration brought about by being dehydrated.

One other critical component of a successful sports nutrition program is adequate exercise nutrition. Our bodies derive sufficient energy from the food we eat but if the supply of calories and carbohydrates is insufficient then our bodies have no way of obtaining fuel, resulting in fatigue and reduced performance. The basic function of most modern sports nutrition programs is geared towards increasing the intake of carbohydrates and decreasing the intake of fats. This is normally accomplished by implementing a multi-nutritional approach to diet and exercise.

A major challenge facing most athletes and recreational enthusiasts is maintaining a healthy body weight. This is often difficult due to the sedentary nature of most modern jobs and the poor diet that most people follow. An athlete who wants to stay in peak physical condition and perform to his maximum potential needs to make positive lifestyle changes and commit to a comprehensive sports nutrition plan. Athletes need to make positive choices regarding their diets and regular physical activity. They also need to make sure they get enough rest for recovery and recuperation.

As part of an athlete’s sports nutrition program, the athlete needs to be aware of the importance of hydration. Hydration is very important because it ensures adequate transport of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. Water is used extensively throughout the body, particularly to transport waste products away from cells and to dilute blood glucose levels. When the body is not well hydrated it becomes prone to heat stroke and fluid loss. Sports nutritionists recognize that most people do not drink enough water during the course of a day and this is the first point of contact in any hydration program. The athlete needs to take care and choose quality sports drink that contains high levels of electrolytes, sports drinks with a low alcohol content and sugar free or low calorie drinks.

It is important for athletes to understand the relationship between exercise physiology and fluid intake. Exercise physiology deals with the physical processes involved when working out to improve performance and reduce body fat. Sports nutritionists and fitness experts believe that a proper mix of diet and exercise physiology are necessary for athletes to achieve and maintain peak performance. A good example is a runner who exercise for at least three hours on each day, consumes two to three gallons of fluid per hour and takes in carbohydrates and electrolytes before, during and after the exercise process.

Concerns regarding nutritional supplements and athletic competition has prompted some major changes in the way athletes today approach to sports nutrition. Athletes are now more likely to receive advice from a sports nutritionist or other health professional regarding sports nutrition supplements and sports medicine. The reason for this is to make sure that the athlete receives the correct amount of essential nutrients that help the body function properly. It is becoming increasingly common for parents to be involved in the nutritional program of their child since they have more direct contact with the athlete. Parents also have the ability to help monitor the nutrient intake by charting the food intake and making changes as needed.

The purpose of sports nutrition is to feed and support the body’s efforts in sporting competition. When an athlete performs at his or her optimum level, it means that the body has successfully used all of its natural resources – food, water and fuel – in support of that performance. If an athlete performs less than his or her best, it is likely that the body is not getting the nutrients that it needs to perform at its optimal level. Sports Nutrition supplements can be used to support muscle building and recovery, improve an athlete’s performance, minimize body fat and maintain a healthy heart. However, if an athlete performs below his or her maximum potential, it is not because his or her body is not capable of maximizing performance but rather because of improper training, nutrition and competition guidelines.

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