How can proper nutrition help an athlete on & off field?

An athlete’s body should function properly in order to bear with the workload and demands placed upon them as they need to do a thousand activities and make decisions in the split of a second. To perform at peak levels and enhance the body’s ability to handle athletic demands, a great athlete can minimize his fatigue and maximize his endurance, stamina, strength and power through vigorous and consistent practice and proper nutrition timing

Macronutrients that come from the diet comprise of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Carbohydrates serve as the primary source of energy for anaerobic activities. So, for anaerobic activities the athlete should have an ample supply of carbohydrate stores in the body, commonly known as glycogen stores, for the purpose of energy release.

Proteins on the other hand, are made of amino acids and help in muscle and body tissue repair, and also make up hair, bones, collagen and serves as a backup source of energy.

Fats help in insulation of body organs, regulate body temperature and help in promoting healthy cell function. During an aerobic exercise, fats are used as primary source of energy.

As per the best nutritionist in Delhi, apart from the macronutrients, water and electrolytes like sodium play an important role in the efficiency of an athlete. When an athlete performs at a high level, he sweats and burns calories and water and electrolytes are excreted from the body and must be replenished in in order to keep the muscles prepped to act and react. An athlete with a right nutrient profile can ward off fatigue and perform longer.

Inadequate daily nutrition cannot be compensated by having a healthy meal prior to the competition. It is important for athletes, coaches and parents to understand how crucial nutrition timing is for sports. They should also know, in addition to eating balanced meals, when and what types of foods should be eaten to allow enough time for proper digestion and absorption to occur so that the nutrients can be utilized as ‘fuel’ for performance.

Athletes should take care of their busy schedules of practices, school and a social life and also manage a sports nutrition plan perfectly. They can easily do so by understanding their priority to go in the jar first, and let the pebbles settle around them accordingly.

Athletes are committed to their sports and athletic lifestyle which keeps them highly motivated but they shouldn’t leave nutrition behind. The athlete should ask himself whether he is ready to fine-tune his nutrition plan for a better enhanced performance. Most athletes are confident about their abilities in their sport nut not so confident when it comes to when it comes to making changes in their lifestyle with a healthy one. This doesn’t come easy but comes for sure with consistency.

Athletes should commit and prioritize meal preps. Individualised routines will help the athlete to plan ahead, stay accountable with meal preparations and achieve success in the long run. However, the athlete should understand that there would be some ups and drops due to their busy schedules but they should always remember that a consistent effort pays off better.

A nutrition plan would be majorly dependent on the type of sport played by the athlete as different sports need different energy requirements which also vary with seasons. More recover and anti-inflammatory foods may be required in mid-season but high protein foods would be needed during an off-season due to increased volume of strength training. Thus an athlete should ‘eat what they burn’ and failing to refuel the body would lead to a decrease in the performance.

Athletes need to fuel up 2-3 hours before the game so that their blood sugar levels are not low and their coordination, endurance and overall focus does not get affected as pre-game nutrition directly affects performance on field.

Nutrition during the sport is also very essential. In a sport like football, where a player plays for 90 mins, they deplete a high amount of muscle glycogen and should be supplied with a drink, maybe a sports drink, high in electrolytes like sodium along with fast acting carbs to replenish the depleted glycogen and give them the power they need.

Recovery or post game nutrition is also important for athletes in order to achieve long-term success. They shouldn’t think that they can eat anything after a game. If they eat unhealthy and junk food after a game, they would be more inflamed and sore and not reap the benefits of their workout or game. Therefore, they should plan and bring a recovery snack to be consumed after the game.

Being an athlete, one should understand the importance and impact of nutrient rich foods on their performance. Whole food alternatives are more convenient and as good as prepared meals. A whole grain bread over white, a bag of trail mix over chips, or a bar with fewer than 10 ingredients and 10 g of sugar are all easily available good food choices at any grocery or supermarket. So, it is easy for athletes to make conscious decisions with respect to food to not only improve their athletics but also improve their overall health and well-being and make them feel better and more positive.

Athletes can get teammates, coaches, parents together to create an environment where performance nutrition is the primary goal.

However, cheat days helps you find balance and can be used to an athlete’s advantage and shouldn’t be frowned upon as it is better to follow a nutrition plan 80% for a longer time than to follow it fully but inconsistently. Best sports nutrition plan should be a main concern as cheat day can be planned a day or two ahead of the workout days and athletes should stick to cheat snacks or just one meal instead of going off track for the whole day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *