Basketball player driving for a layup

Why Athlete Nutrition = Performance

Why Athlete Nutrition = Performance
January 18, 2022 | Andre Harakas | 4 min read

Athletic performance is influenced by nutrition, both physically and emotionally. Scientists have known for almost a century that one’s diet may boost one’s workout. As a result, athletes are often advised to follow particular nutritional rules in order to improve their performance. Because each athlete’s demands, objectives, and training plan are unique, dietary standards differ, and there are no nutritional strategies that will cover all needs. However, there is agreement on several general components of an athlete’s nutrition.

Most athlete nutrition standards define carbohydrate, protein, fat, water, and supplements/vitamins dietary ratios. “An optimum diet for young athletes consists of 45 percent to 65 percent carbs, 10 percent to 30 percent protein, and 25 percent to 35 percent fat,” according to a research. According to studies, “meals should be consumed at least 3 hours before exercise,” snacks should be consumed “1 to 2 hours before activity,” and recovery foods should be consumed “within 30 minutes of exercise and again within 1 to 2 hours of activity to allow muscles to rebuild and ensure proper recovery”.

Carbohydrates are vital in an athlete’s diet because they are the most effectively broken-down and digested kind of energy for the body. Athletes should consume anywhere from 3 to 12 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of bodyweight throughout the day, according to the individual’s training regiment, as carbohydrate intake before and after exercise can help to restore sub-optimal glycogen stores, which is critical for prolonged periods of exercise.

Proteins, in addition to carbs, are essential components of an athlete’s diet, since they aid recovery and tissue repair by replenishing muscle glycogen and increasing protein synthesis. Depending on the individual’s training program and demands, athletes should eat 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day, with a focus on post-exercise meals. Meat, dairy products, nuts, and seeds are all good sources of protein. Consuming good fats, such as monounsaturated and n-3 polyunsaturated fats, rather than saturated and trans fats, seems to assist an athlete’s nutrition by reducing inflammation and maintaining adequate vascular function, which indirectly may boost athletic performance.

Hydration is another key part of an athlete’s diet, since water makes up around 60% of an individual’s bodyweight. An athlete may have negative side effects during exercise if they are not properly hydrated, including reduced oxygen to the muscles, decreased cardiac output, weariness, and the accumulation of performance-degrading toxins. The National Collegiate Athletic Association suggests that athletes consume water throughout the day to avoid dehydration, especially before (16 to 24 ounces), during (4 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes), and after exertion (16 to 20 ounces for every pound lost from activity). Athletes may drink sports beverages to enhance hydration because they include nutrients and minerals that water lacks, such as carbohydrates, electrolytes, and salt, which can give energy, replace nutrients and minerals, and maintain performance.

“Products containing dietary elements (including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, organ tissues, metabolites, and other dietary materials) designed to complement the diet”. While some athletes utilize supplements, most nutrition recommendations advise against them since the required amount of vitamins and minerals may be obtained naturally via a well-balanced diet, and particular sports may ban their usage in a competitive or professional situation.

According to the U.S.A.D.A athletes who “make educated dietary choices will have an edge over those who choose to disregard the role that food plays in human performance” would “have an advantage over those who choose to ignore the role that food plays in human performance.” Researchers recommend that players speak with their coaches or guardians, as well as their physician or a qualified nutritionist, before following any dietary suggestions for athletes. Nutritional advice might also be provided by physical therapists.

Share this post
mail iconmail iconmail icon