Published: 06/02/2006 - Updated: 06/28/2016
In any competition for talented athletes, fitness and motivation, the difference between victory and defeat is minimal. Diet affects performance, so pay attention to the consumption of foods and beverages that may be suitable for decisive difference.
Athletic performance may be affected by diet quality, the amount of food ingested and the time of consumption. Although there is no magic formula, the basic principles of a good diet for good health and performance can be summarized as follows:
- Consuming enough to meet the energy needs.
- Ensuring that a high proportion of that energy comes from carbohydrates.
- Choosing the time of eating food and drinks so as to provide carbohydrates needed for the effort and then to recovery.
- Taking foods that provide various proteins, vitamins and minerals.
- Drinking enough to maintain the level of hydration.
- Being careful when taking supplement foods.
In practice, the needs differ greatly from one athlete to another, depending on the physical characteristics (weight, height), duration and intensity and competition, and the type of sport (endurance as the marathon, short and intense, like racing and sprints, intermittent, such as football, or force such as weight lifting). There is only one diet that fits all athletes, while the individual needs change depending on the programs of training and competition.
Professor Ron Maughan of Loughborough University (UK) chaired the Conference of the International Olympic Committee 2003 (1), which noted that "athletes should be aware of their nutritional goals and how can select a feeding strategy that is tailored to those goals. "
Specifically, the energy requirements vary considerably from one athlete to another. On average, a moderately active woman needs about 2000 kcal per day and a man, about 2,500 Kcal. The women only make up light and moderate training, however, some male athletes such as cyclists and rowers need more than 5000 Kcal per day. Thus, in some stages of the Tour de France, there are cyclists who have come to consume up to 8,000 Kcal. At both ends of the energy spectrum, can be quite difficult to maintain a balance, and that excessive consumption of calories leads to unwanted weight gain and an insufficient intake reduces the strength and performance.
Carbohydrates are an essential way to obtain fast and energy to the muscles that are exercised. Without good reserves of carbohydrates as glycogen in muscle and liver, and frequent contributions over the food and drink, this reduce the time during which you can keep a moderate physical effort and intense. Participants in sports activities for more than an hour should pay special attention to rest with food and snacks rich in carbohydrates.
Dehydration reduces performance, in fact, the athletes should not lose more than 2% of their body weight during the effort. It is important to have a good level of hydration before the event and drink enough during the same once finished. When the need of liquid is high, for example, in an intense and prolonged activity, or in hot weather, also should sodium and carbohydrates should be ingested through food or energy drinks.
Athletes protein needs are higher than those of sedentary individuals, but they are adequately met through the consumption of a normal balanced diet that meets energy needs. The selection of a variety of foods also ensures an appropriate consumption of vitamins and minerals, although the consumption of iron and calcium in some women athletes can be scarce.
The feeding of the athletes should be enjoyable and help improve their athletic performance.