Sports Nutrition for Different Athletic Goals
An athlete’s goal often revolves around strength, endurance, sports performance, and, of course, recovery. Sometimes, however, how these goals are prioritized vary. In other words, there are periods when the goal is to build strength more than endurance. There are times when it’s the other way around. Then again, if a sportsman suffers an injury, recovery will be the main goal.
Here’s how athletes can use nutrition to achieve different athletic goals.
Nutrition for Strength
Since the goal is to build strength, an athlete will most definitely have high-intensity workouts. Due to this, they will need an adequate amount of all macros, while being cautious about protein intake to maintain or build lean muscles.
Nutrition for Endurance
To build endurance, athletes might need to train for 1 to 3 hours a day using moderate to high-intensity exercises. Since this could be draining, there might be a special focus on carbs and fats as they are the sources of energy.
Nutrition to Improve Performance
If the goal is to improve athletic performance, it’s imperative to consider the kind of sports.
For instance, some sports will require increased lean body mass among athletes. There are also sports that require athletes to be fit and fast. For this reason, the nutritionist might tailor their diet in a way that they’ll lose weight.
Nutrition for Recovery
For recovery, an athlete’s diet should consist of all the macros from a variety of healthy food choices. To repair tissues, the nutritionist might put the focus on proteins.
Precautions in Sports Nutrition
Due to the meticulous nature of sports nutrition, athletes need to be careful about the following aspects.
An athlete’s diet should consist of a lot of water. Hydration should always be an athlete’s priority. Due to the regular and sometimes intense training, the body must cool down and it does it through sweating. Not drinking enough water could lead to poor performance. Furthermore, it can result in dangerous health risks such as electrolyte imbalance and heat stroke.
Water is perfect for hydration, but if you engage in physically-demanding activities for longer than one hour, the nutritionist might advise you to take sports or energy drinks.
Meal replacements are ready-made, edible products that allow athletes to “skip” a normal, sit-down meal. Often, these replacements have different formulations of proteins, fats, and carbs to accommodate various athletic goals.
As tempting as it is to not cook and just eat meal replacements, don’t forget to consult a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist before you do so. Remember that sports nutrition should consist of foods that are appropriate for your needs. Taking a “short-cut” through replacement meals might give you nutrients that are not truly tailored for you.
In their desire to have more strength and endurance, some may athletes resort to taking supplements. Despite its availability, experts would like to caution everyone from taking them.
Before an athlete even thinks about supplements, they must ensure that their diet is already balanced and tailored for their sports. After they have decided, they must talk to a licensed sports dietician or nutritionist. Only then will it be safe to incorporate replacement meals in their diet.
Use of Steroids
Steroids or “performance-enhancing” drugs, in general, are banned in sports. And it’s not just an issue of fairness and equality among sportsmen. Studies show that taking performance-enhancing drugs have health risks. Possible dangers include:
- Heart problems
- Liver problems
- Blood clots
Do not take steroids unless your doctor specifically orders you to because you need it for medical reasons. In that case, you need to disclose both your health problem and steroid-use to your coach.
An athlete’s diet should consist of foods that will provide your body sustenance during training or recovery. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all in sports nutrition, discussing everything with a registered dietician or nutritionist is a must.
Learn more about Sports Nutrition here.
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