Sports Nutrition is the process and study of diet and nutrition especially with regards to enhancing anyone’s athletic performance on the field of sport. Nutrition is a fundamental part of most sports training regimes, especially being equally popular in endurance sports and strength sports. In essence, it deals with what you need to consume before, during and after a particular game or competition so as to fuel your body for the task at hand; i.e.
With the recent craze about health and fitness, a lot of people are now becoming interested in sports nutrition as well as its importance in any athletic regime. However, not all people are aware of its significance while some even believe that it is not necessary. It is quite the opposite! This article seeks to enlighten the readers about how playing a sport can boost one’s physical activity and in turn enhance one’s general health and wellbeing.
A balanced diet is important not only for athletes on the field of sport, but also for everyone. The right kind of diet can give you the necessary energy required to perform your daily tasks and exercise, besides providing you with all the essential nutrients required by your body. There are two main kinds of sports nutrition, i.e. pre-competition and post-competition. Taking care of the needs of the athlete is what pre-competition food is all about, whereas post-competition nutrition aims at providing the right nutrients needed for muscle repair and regeneration.
Pre-competition: An athlete’s diet when preparing for sports competition largely depends on his preparation and training schedule. It is therefore important to pay attention to the kind of exercise he or she will be doing. For instance, it is advisable for someone playing basketball to take into account good sports nutrition such as taking in enough protein, carbohydrates and fibers to facilitate fast muscle repair. In addition, it is crucial to take in a lot of fluids especially water to avoid dehydration during exercise.
Post-competition: To keep your muscles well hydrated after a rigorous exercise regimen it is advisable to follow a sports nutritionist’s nutrition plan after the competition. In most cases, the sports nutritionist will suggest an individualized sports nutrition plan for you to follow closely. One of these may be a drink containing carbs, proteins and fats to provide the energy for your muscles and other post-exercise requirements while consuming it. Alternatively, you can have a protein shake that contains a blend of whey and casein protein to provide the necessary nutrients for muscle repair and regeneration.
Sports Nutritionist recommends athletes to take in a meal composed of carbohydrates and fats, plus some carbohydrates to replace the proteins. This dietitian would advise athletes to take in some natural fibrous carbohydrates such as rice, bread and pasta to provide the energy for their next training session. They may also incorporate fruits, vegetables and lean meats to make sure that they do not experience muscle pain or any other negative effects brought about by consuming carbohydrates. Sports nutritionists suggest that athletes should include skimmed milk, yogurt, eggs and other dairy products to provide them with protein.
An individualized sports nutrition plan is usually designed keeping in mind the needs of each athlete. There are individuals who require high-protein diets; other athletes require low-protein diets. Even then, there are individuals who are in good health regardless of the type of physical activity they are engaged in and therefore require a diet that is rich in carbohydrates. There are also individuals who should stick to a healthy eating plan such as the ones recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). This group of professionals includes professional athletes as well as weekend warriors who are more likely to engage in intense physical activities. Even when you are an athlete, you must remember that every activity demands the consumption of a certain amount of carbohydrates and other nutrients.
Eating right when engaged in physical activity is very important and sports nutrition has a lot to do with it. The best way to ensure that you are eating right is to educate yourself on the foods that you should eat and the kinds of carbohydrates and other nutrients that you should avoid. You can take the help of your trainer and other people who are experts in sports nutrition to help you with this. But remember, if you are training to compete, then it is essential to stick to a strict diet and ensure that you do not over-examine or under-examine the food that you eat and how much you eat. Your body will not be able to achieve the optimum results if you try to consume a varied diet and you could end up becoming overweight, sick or even injured.