In a room full of impressive bodybuilders, devoted gym-goers, zealous runners, and top athletes, there’s one shared element between them – the presence and the results of applied sports nutrition.
It’s no secret that the best performers in sports are those that seek the counsel of a good sports nutritionist. No athlete can go very far without paying attention to his nutrition needs—any athlete who does so risks being left in the dust by his more informed and proactive peers.
You could say that the venn diagram of the top athletes and the athletes who see sports nutritionists is a circle.
What is sports nutrition?
Sports nutrition is concerned with the study of the kind of, as well as the amount of food and fluids an athlete consumes.
Also, it deals with the intake of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, organic substances like carbohydrates, fats, and protein, as well as inorganic substances like supplements. Sports nutrition looks into the foods that are right or wrong for an athlete to consume and how an athlete should consume those beneficial foods. The end goal of sports nutrition is ensuring that athlete’s performance is optimized through careful planning of their diet.
Sports nutrition is a particular area of dietetics, and its sole purpose is to improve the performance of athletes. The nutritional requirements of athletes are miles different from those of the general unathletic population, and this is because of the different tasking activities and exercises carried out by athletes. To achieve their performance goals, athletes must follow a diet plan recommended by a proficient sports nutritionist or dietician.
Who benefits from sports nutrition?
Sports nutrition is beneficial to anyone looking into developing a fitter and more confident lifestyle. It would be a mistake to assume that it is exclusive to top tier athletes alone.
Anyone can tap into the sports nutrition secrets to achieve their respective body goals.
Young and growing athletes need proper nutrition as a fixed component of their workout plan as they train long hours and burn a lot of calories. They are often overlooked by parents, and their nutrition as athletes is not given the proper attention.
What are the benefits of sports nutrition?
A wrong diet plan, no doubt, causes problems for athletes and hinders their overall performance. An athlete may train for extended periods without the desired results because of what he consumes. Asides from the angle of performance, our diet is also known to affect our moods and frame of mind. It plays a key role in the way we feel and how our body functions day into day.
Concisely put, here are some benefits of sports nutrition:
- Injury prevention
- Increased training endurance
- Improved concentration
- Onset of fatigue is delayed
- Increased strength
- A stronger immune system
- An improved body composition
- Improved energy levels
- Improved muscle healing and recovery
What should you eat?
Sports nutrition is important to you if you are looking into becoming a better athlete this year, or you have chosen this year as the year you finally start a workout program and get fit. Your food and nutrition must be given extra attention.
The food you eat has effects on your strength, training, performance levels, and your ability to recover from certain injuries.
What you eat is important, but how you eat it is just as important. The times we eat throughout the day play a crucial role in the final results achieved.
As a general rule, athletes are advised to have a meal about two hours before exercising. This meal should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy that powers you throughout your workout and exercise routine, and they are consumed in large amounts because of this.
Protein is needed to ensure muscle growth and repair. After exercising, your body needs to replace the expended carbohydrates, and you need to ensure proper muscle recovery by including protein in your post-training meal.
The amount of protein and carbohydrates that you need depends on both the intensity and the type of sport you play, as well as other factors unique to you. To get an individual diet plan best suited for you, you must consult a sports nutritionist or dietician.
How does a Sports nutritionist help you?
A certified sports nutritionist has professional knowledge and experience in the field of sports nutrition for improved athletic performance. Every individual is unique and different in their needs, and because of that, different nutrition plans are required for different individuals.
The guidance of a sports nutritionist is needed when creating an individual plan to suit all your nutrient needs. A detailed nutrition plan tailored to suit your needs will address what you should consume on training days, rest days and how this will need to change on competition days.
• Consulting a sports nutritionist for health conditions
Besides creating an individual diet plan, sports nutritionists can also be consulted in cases of disruptive health issues.
Athletes may experience several health issues because of their intense training, and these issues can cause them to suffer a setback.
Some challenges encountered by athletes include:
• Gastrointestinal Issues
Gastrointestinal issues are particularly common with endurance athletes and can be a major block in attaining peak performance. An estimated 28-50% of long-distance runners experience some form of gastrointestinal unease during training periods or a competition.
Some common symptoms include nausea, heartburn, intense bloating, or diarrhea.
Someone’s diet can contribute to this discomfort, and this is where the sports nutritionist comes in. The sports nutritionist develops plans that not only assist their training goals but also reduce these symptoms.
• Recovery challenges
During training, energy is used up and depleted. Recovery nutrition is crucial to every athlete as it restores the nutrients and energy that are used up. Your sports nutritionist will determine the best approach for your needs.
As an athlete, sportsperson, or individual seeking a better, fitter lifestyle, the importance of sports nutrition cannot be overemphasized. In your journey to a better career and physical development, a certified sports nutritionist is simply indispensable.