An athlete’s body should be like a finely tuned engine that uses glycogen as its fuel as what may seem like a sure victory may turn out to be a defeat when energy supplies are low. The factors under the control of an athlete are diet and how much they train, even though they are born with the right genes. Nutrition for athletes to eat regular and nutritious meals. They may rely on special foods or supplements for energy, recovery and prevent injury and illness. Needs of every athlete is different and what may work for one athlete may not work for the other.
As per the best nutritionist in Hyderabad, inadequate nutrition leads to an athlete being less likely to achieve peak performance and may even lead to muscle breakdown instead of build up. Without sufficient calorie intake, athletes would not play to their maximum potential and not be as fast and strong as they could be. Growth problems might occur due to extreme caloric restriction in younger athletes and other risks like increased risk of fractures and injuries in both boys and girls.
Carbohydrates are powering the game with only one type of food is a bad idea. Carbohydrates are the source of fuel for the body but they are one of the many foods that an athlete needs. Proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals are also a part of the athlete achieving his peak performance.
Calcium helps to strengthen bones and iron helps to carry oxygen to the muscles. Young athletes might not get enough of these minerals as their needs are higher than other kids of their age. Enough iron can be obtained from lean (skinless) meats like chicken, fish and turkey, green vegetables, etc. Calcium is found in dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, paneer, etc.
Vitamins and minerals help obtain energy from food and prevent illness and hence an athlete should eat a balanced diet including lots of different fruits and vegetables that provide sufficient vitamins and minerals which are needed for good health and sports performance.
A myth when it comes to protein is that in order to build muscles, athletes need to take huge daily intakes of proteins but in fact, muscle growth comes from regular training. Excessive protein consumption can cause dehydration, calcium loss, kidney issues and actually harm the body. Important nutrition for athletes like fish, lean meats and poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy, and peanut butter are good sources of proteins.
Following a low-carb diet or cutting back on carbs is not a good idea for athletes as carbohydrates are the source of fuel for them. Restricting carbs can lead to fatigue and ultimately affect performance. Good carbohydrate sources include fruits, vegetables, whole grains that provide athletes with all the nutrients to stay healthy. Unhealthy options like candy bars or colas should be avoided as they are empty calories and do not contain any nutrients. However, eating these sugary snacks just before the competition or practice gives an athlete an instant energy supply which wears out even before they have finished working out.
Fats shouldn’t be ignored for athletes that are needed for long-lasting energy when carbs are burnt off. It is advised to eat healthier forms of fats like nuts and seeds, vegetable oils like sunflower, soybean, olive, mustard and rice bran oils with containing a significant amount of MUFA and PUFA. Fats can slow the digestion process and high-fat foods should be avoided a few hours before exercising.
Salt tablets are taken to avoid dehydration but too much of salt can cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and may damage the stomach lining. It is a better idea to drink fluids to maintain hydration and the salt lost due to sweat can be replaced by a sports drink or food is eaten after exercise.
It is easy for an athlete to become overheated and worn out due to dehydration especially in hot and humid environments and even mild dehydration can affect the athlete’s physical and mental performance. Age, size, level of physical activity, sweat rates and surrounding temperature decide how much water a person needs
It is advised to drink fluids before, during and after exercise and not wait to feel thirsty as thirst indicates dehydration. An athlete should also not force himself to drink too much of fluids as it may make it hard for him to run with that amount of fluid in the stomach. Sports drinks can also be recommended in order to replace the lost electrolytes in sweat.
Energy drinks should not be consumed before exercising especially in hot weathers as they contain caffeine which is a diuretic and will increase the frequency of urination which will further lead to dehydration.
The performance of an athlete will depend on his nutrition that he has been following from the past weeks or months and he can enhance his performance by concentrating on meals closer to the competition.
Athletes should have a meal 3-4 hours before the game and a pre-game snack 60-90 minutes prior to the game thus nutrition for athletes is to be taken care.. If possible, diet plan for weight loss must be different as they should not have a meal before competition as digestion requires energy which they would want to save and use for the game. It can also make them feel bloated, crampy and sick. The need for the best sports nutrition plan for every athlete is different, they should experiment with foods and meal timings on practice days so that they know what works best for them for the game day.