Sports Nutrition is the process and research of diet and nutrition, particularly with regards to enhancing anyone’s athletic performance. Sports Nutrition has become very popular in recent years as more athletes have turned to it for help in meeting their training and competition needs. Sports Nutrition supplements and food items can be found in virtually any sporting goods shop and are even available online. Nutritional requirements of athletes vary widely so it is important to know what foods and nutritional supplements you need before you begin a fitness or weight training regimen.
Sports Nutrition can provide athletes with essential information concerning the right foods and nutrients to eat or take, when to take them, and how much to take with each meal. Studies on sports nutrition have shown that a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat are essential in the maintenance of an athletic body. Athletes have specific diets that include protein, carbohydrates, and fat so they can develop muscles, maintain their strength, and perform at their optimum level throughout the year. Nutritionists and doctors recommend a proper fluid intake for athletes, because they require a large amount of fluid to help fuel their exercise physiology and energy systems.
The type of sports nutritionist that you choose depends on the type of athlete you are and the amount of work you do. If you are a female athlete then you will probably speak with a female nutritionist instead of a male nutritionist. Female athletes have very specific goals in mind when it comes to their nutrition plan. Typically, female athletes will want to increase lean mass, shed body fat, and reduce water weight. Men on the other hand will most likely be looking to increase muscle mass and lose body fat.
There are specific things both athletes and non-athletes should look for in sports nutrition supplements. First, it is important to get plenty of protein. Protein is a very important component of an athlete’s diet because it is required for the synthesis of proteins and other building blocks of health. Athletes and non-athletes alike also should add multivitamins to their daily intake. Multivitamins are a must because they will help promote energy levels, provide vital vitamins and minerals, and provide additional antioxidants. Nutritional experts recommend that athletes consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight.
The second thing athletes need to focus on with their sports nutrition is proper hydration. An athlete needs to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day to stay properly hydrated and prevent water retention. Hydration is especially important for runners and other endurance-related physical activity athletes because the harder they work the more they exert their body and require more water to replace lost fluids. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes who are engaged in any type of physical activity for at least an hour per session require at least eight ounces of water per hour of physical activity.
Athletes should consider adding multivitamins, creatine, and riboflavin to their diet as well. These dietary supplements are available at most health food stores and can help support healthy growth and muscle development while promoting proper hydration. If an athlete is using anabolic steroids or prescription medications to enhance his sporting performance, then it is imperative that he learns about safe dietary supplements to use in conjunction with his prescribed medications. In doing so, he can avoid a dangerous pitfall of some over the counter and prescription supplements that contain steroids and other harmful substances. Sports nutrition supplements that contain high amounts of caffeine and sugar should also be avoided.
Water is the most natural substance found in the human body and it is necessary for sports nutrition. It can replace the moisture in the body and keep the muscles relaxed and properly hydrated. Hydration is especially critical for runners and can reduce the risk of dehydration and possible injury if proper hydration is not obtained. Sports nutrition experts recommend consuming eight to ten glasses of water per day to achieve and maintain proper hydration.
Exercise physiology experts also recommend increasing your fluid intake as you become more involved in intense physical activity. During intense activity, the body releases large amounts of stored glycogen and glucose into the blood stream to replace lost fluids. Proper exercise physiology techniques such as increasing the amount of time to exercise is performed, duration and intensity, proper rest between workouts, and changing the position of the feet while exercising can greatly increase the amount of glycogen and glucose in the blood stream, which can lead to better hydration and less chance of dehydration. As with all exercise physiology strategies, implementing a regular fluid intake protocol during physical training can dramatically decrease the risk of injury and enhance your performance.
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