Sports Nutrition is the fine art and science of diet and nutrition especially with regards to enhancing anyone’s athletic performance in their chosen sport. Nutrition is very important component of most sports training programs, being equally popular in endurance sports and strength sports. It helps you maintain your energy level as well as enhance your strength and agility. The right kind of nutrition helps you recover faster between workouts and build up more muscles and stamina to carry out the same task a few days later. Here’s a look at the key components of a perfect sports nutrition program:

* Water: The first step of sports nutrition is sufficient fluid intake. Hydration is very important for athletes as it prevents dehydration during intense activity. However, not all athletes may follow the recommended daily intake guidelines for fluids because there are some who may suffer from various medical conditions, like hypohydration or even hyperhydration. Sports nutritionist would be best consulted to help you determine your specific needs.

* Nutrient Timing: Nutrient timing is one of the most innovative and beneficial aspects of Sports Nutrition. Nutrient timing refers to the timing of ingesting different nutrients and minerals depending on the event or competition. There are certain times that certain nutrients are more effective than others such as prior to an intense workout session or immediately following an event.

* Lean Muscle Building Food: To optimize the benefits of Sports Nutrition, it is essential to consume the right kind of food and supplements. For instance, athletes require lean muscle mass. Therefore, consuming high protein foods and supplements are highly recommended. Also, drinking adequate fluids is very important as it prevents dehydration and keeps the muscles hydrated. The International Society of Sports Nutrition 14 (ISSN 14) recommends consuming one quart of water for every pound of lean muscle mass.

* Hydration: Another aspect of Sports Nutrition that is often overlooked is proper hydration. Athletes require an ample supply of water and electrolytes to avoid dehydration and promote optimal performance. Sports nutritionists recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water for every one pound of body weight.

* Exercise Frequency: The frequency of exercises and workouts will vary depending on an athlete’s condition and goal. For example, a marathon runner may perform cardio-vascular exercises three days a week but a basketball player might focus on high power exercises and high intensity/short duration workouts five days a week. Therefore, an athlete with different goals and degree of skill will need to tailor his training program to meet his objectives. Sports Nutrition experts recommend monitoring the exercise program of an individual athlete to see if his training program is effective. This can be done by monitoring heart rate, fat and muscle mass, muscle strength and size and lactic acid levels.

* Sports Nutrition Supplements Among Athletes: A crucial component of an athlete’s diet is proper nutrition. For instance, bodybuilders and athletes engaged in contact sports or athletes involved in aerobics must take supplements to support muscle growth and recovery. Sports nutrition supplements among athletes can be in the form of protein, creatine, multivitamins, amino acids, multi-minerals, essential fatty acids and cofactors. Amino acids, proteins and creatine are considered the most important nutrient groups because they help speed the development of muscles, provide energy and provide building blocks for tissues and cells. Multivitamins, multi-minerals and amino acids can also be used as sports nutrition supplements among athletes because they can improve recovery and promote proper nutrition.

* Sports Nutrition and Athletic Performance: Proper hydration, proper nutrition and adequate exercise are the pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Although sports nutrition supplements are becoming mainstream, it is still best to consult a doctor and a nutritionist if you want to take any of these supplements. Sports nutrition and athletic performance should not be overlooked when planning a healthy lifestyle and achieving your goals.

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