Sports Nutrition is the practical application and study of diet and nutrition specifically with regards to enhancing anyone’s athletic performance in sports. Nutrition is a crucial component of most sports training programs, being equally popular in endurance sports and weight sports. If you are interested in getting into sports as an athlete or just interested in improving your general health and wellbeing, then you should become familiar with sports nutrition as it plays a vital role in every sport.
One of the biggest challenges facing the world today is the health of female athletes. The subject of female athlete triad was addressed by the 2017 International Society for Sports Nutrition conference, which took place in April. The society discussed the increasing prevalence of eating disorders in female collegiate athletes, how eating disorders impact the performance of female athletes, and what needs to be done to improve the health and wellness of female athletes. At the same time, some recommendations were made for better care of female athletes in general. The main issues addressed included: proper nutrition, gender differences in physical training and nutrition, recovery techniques used and the impact of nutritional therapies on sports performance.
Sports Nutrition was represented by experts from several different angles. For example, Dr. Jennifer Bairouanne, a professor at University of Texas-El Paso, is an expert in Sports Medicine. She has extensively researched exercise training and rehabilitation for adults, women and children with physical disabilities. Dr. Bairouanne presented a paper examining the impact of anabolic steroids on sports nutrition and exercise program planning. She argued that while anabolic steroids are beneficial for athletes in the short term, there is a possible “build up” of harmful anabolic hormones that will impair recovery, increase stress related hormones and possibly reduce muscle strength.
Additionally, Dr. Bairouanne presented data and research that support the concept that the use of ergogenic aids such as caffeine may also negatively affect sports nutrition. Specifically, she noted that the consumption of large amounts of caffeine within 90 minutes of exercise can hinder the body’s ability to properly recuperate after the exercise stress. This “feedback loop” can have negative implications for the athlete and the coach alike. Her research also showed that most athletes do not take into consideration the importance of proper hydration and what impacts that Hydration may have on their performance and recovery.
There are many dietary supplements and meal plans available to athletes today. It is easy to find information and product reviews online and in sports nutrition magazines. In essence, the supplement industry has developed numerous products geared towards specific goals. For example, the nutrient-rich complex carbohydrates found in Optifast is specifically targeted at athletes. Similarly, Perfect Health Energy has an impressive list of specific goals that include helping athletes build lean muscle mass, improve their recovery rate and increase energy levels.
However, with so many dietary supplements, meal plans and products available, how can an athlete decide what is best for them? The majority of professionals concur that it is important for an athlete to consider their personal needs and goals before they start an athletic competition. Therefore, it is wise to consult with a dietitian who is knowledgeable and experienced in sports nutrition. Dietitians can help determine what type of nutrients and foods would be the best match for you based on your level of fitness and training. In addition, dietitians can provide resources and information for athletes to consider when preparing for an athletic competition.
Dr. Mark Sias, a professor at the University of Toronto sports medicine department and an invited speaker at the American Society of Sports Nutrition conference in April of this year, provides some insight into how diet and nutrition influence the body composition of an athlete. Dr. Sias emphasizes that there are many different contributing factors to an athlete’s body composition. These factors can vary depending upon gender, age, and training status. Additionally, there is no singular diet that is ideal for all individuals. Rather, there are a variety of diets that should be tried to find the one that is most appropriate. As Dr. Sias points out, “there is no magic bullet” when it comes to achieving peak performance in sports, but a healthy, well-balanced diet can help an individual to enhance their training regimen and increase their chances of success.
In conclusion, there are many factors that contribute to an individual’s ability to perform at his or her highest level, including genetics, training intensity, and dietary habits. In order to optimize your athletic performance, it is important to incorporate a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise program. Additionally, it is critical to keep track of your fluid intake during competition to ensure that you are receiving the adequate amount of hydration needed. Finally, it is important to train for peak performance by eating a healthy diet, consuming plenty of fluids, and engaging in cardiovascular exercises that build endurance muscles. By combining these elements, you can achieve peak performance and stay healthy.