Well, it is vital to first understand that sports nutrition is very key to the success of every capable and potential athlete in the world. Just by looking at the above-stated topic it is the hope and desire of athletes to excel in the various fields of their undertakings regardless of whether it is in-game fields or the indoors games. To critically be able to comprehend this subject it is discussed in the following subsections.
What is Sports Nutrition?
Sports nutrition is a well-designed plan that comprises the dietary requirements for an athlete for better performance of the task ahead of him or her. It entails the supply of the necessary macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for enabling the achievement of the desired performance as the foods play important role in the body such as supplying energy for the various taskforce.
Basics of Sports Nutrition
There are three major types of food requirements namely; carbohydrates, proteins, and dietary fats. These basics are precisely discussed below as they supply the body with energy that is vital for the normal functioning of the body for better results.
This is the main source of energy used during various body exercises. The fuel is usually stored in the liver and the muscle cells as glycogen. If the amount of carbohydrates is depleted in the body due to muscle strains the carbohydrates usually assist in the metabolism of the stored excess fat to provide energy to sustain an athlete for better work rate.
The supply of this energy-giving foods comes from sources as sugars found in various forms that are simple forms in foods such as milk, fruits, and vegetables. Moreover, the complex forms of carbs are found in foods such as potatoes, oats and whole-brain grain. These foods are usually broken down in the digestive system into simple forms such as glucose or into blood sugar which then avails energy for the various functions in the body tissues, cells, and organs.
Proteins are among the macronutrients made up of building blocks known as the amino acids which are very crucial and essential in the body of a sportsperson. This type of macronutrient is the one responsible for the repair of muscles and cells of an athlete brought about by wear and tear as a result of strain.
Proteins are broadly categorized into two groups that are complete proteins found mostly in animal sources such as meat, milk, and poultry. These foods are found to contain all the necessary amino acids needed by the body for better functioning.
The second category is the incomplete proteins mostly obtained in plant sources and they usually lack one or more essential amino acids.
Proteins are a very important source of food in sports nutrition as far as the health of any athlete is concerned. Just to outline a few the following are the benefits of this food type:
- They are responsible for ensuring the body has a strong immune system through using the antibodies to detect foreign agents known as antigens.
- It is the work of proteins in enhancing improved muscle health through the coordination and construction of the muscles in the body.
- The receptor proteins are responsible for the transmission of various nerve signals in the body cells and regulating the central nervous system in the process of enhancing the improved system.
- Proteins enhance better performance of the chemical process in the body through the balanced hormones such as the growth hormones, insulin, and glucagon which contain amino acids.
- Proteins in the form of collagen help in strengthening the body cells and prevent the various body joints from injury especially as a result of heavy exercises.
Moreover, despite the benefits proteins have their shortcomings if not carefully and nutritionally managed as stated below:
- High intake of food rich in proteins results in the development of kidney stones which hinders better performance by affecting the kidney which is responsible for filtration of blood during exercise.
- Proteins when taken in large amounts often results in health risks such as heart diseases and cancers which inhibit sports performance.
- There is danger of overweight due to high uncontrolled proteins intake because the excess proteins are usually converted into fats in the body thus increasing the body mass.
Dietary fats are the fats and oils that are found in plant foods and animals as well as those found in cooking food and those added in processed foods. Fats are essential in sports nutrition as they play a great role in providing energy for the body especially during long exercise programs and also responsible for keeping the body warm. Fats are also responsible for regulating various body hormones.
Dietary fats are of two types i.e. the saturated fats usually obtained in animal products and red meat and are considered unhealthy as far as sports nutrition is concerned as it leads to various risks in the body such as chronic diseases as well as cancers. Unsaturated fats are idle and highly recommended by health specialists as well as nutritionists as they pose very little or no health risk if properly consumed in the right amounts and are mostly plant-based such as nuts and olives.
Just like the proteins, there are various benefits associated with the incorporation of dietary fats in sports nutrition as precisely outlined below:
- Aid in weight loss, it well understood that in most sports overweight is greatly unfriendly that it is vital for a sportsman to accommodate great amounts of monounsaturated fats in his sports nutrition program although it is essential to note that it works effectively if accompanied by fewer calories intake.
- Unsaturated fats are responsible for reducing the risk associated with succumbing to health risks such as heart disease brought about by high blood cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
- Research has it that unsaturated fats assist in the improvement of the sensitivity of insulin in body persons who have or don’t have high blood sugar levels.
Fats, on the other hand, have their Shortcomings a few Briefly Stated Below:
- Fats usually expose the body to various heart diseases due to them containing high LDL cholesterol levels as they build up in the coronary arteries thus blocking the supply of sufficient oxygen in the heart.
- Consumption of saturated fats on regular basis research suggests leads to the development of cancers such as colon and prostate.
- Trans fats have been found out to have the effect of leading excessive weight gain as it redistributes fat tissue in the abdomen of the body.
The Ultimate Goal for Sports Nutrition
Athletes usually engage in sports nutrition programs to be able to perform effectively and be able to achieve their life targets and goals. To be able to accomplish this there is the need to carefully come up with the right nutritional requirements that are; healthy food type, nutrient timing, considerable caloric intake, fluids, and essential supplementation for every individual concerning the desired and expected result.
With regard to the above mentioned ideas it is vital to also outline the various exercises and competitive sport that gain as a result of proper sports nutrition: eating for effective athlete performance, eating for endurance as some programs especially those that take long usually require high energy intake in order to be sustained, eating in order to gain strength especially for the skeletal muscle when engaging in high-intensity work.
Eating Tips for Athletes
Athletes need to be very careful about the type and amount of food eaten. The following are a few tips on how to go about:
- Eat more carbohydrates; this is because they are the main source of fuel. It is further advised that out of the total amount of food carbohydrates should range between 45 to 65 percent.
- Proteins requirements can vary between 2grams to 8 grams per kilogram of the body weight.
- Athletes need to take substantial amounts of fats mostly the unsaturated ones to avoid health risks such as heart diseases and cancers.
- The diet should incorporate fluids more often and should be taken in early hours to the exercise.
- Regularly replace the lost electrolytes with sports drinks which are usually responsible for transmitting nerve signals in the body.
Special Topics of Sports Nutrition
There are Several but just to Mention a few Includes:
- Sports nutrition and the major factors that affect physical performance
- The process of energy formation during body exercise
- Sources of energy
- Basics of sports nutrition
- Fats dietary in sports nutrition
Sports nutrition from the above-discussed topics is evident that it is a very critical aspect concerning the overall performance of an athlete. The nutritional requirements should be properly and well designed to achieve the ultimate desired goals i.e. well-balanced diet comprising of the major nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Besides, it is of value to note that athletes should adhere to healthy eating habits so as not to be exposed to health risks. Good sports nutrition equals effective success.