The needs of an athlete do not vary particularly from that of a sedentary person in that the right balance of nutrients in sensible portions is sufficient providing this matches the increased demands that sports create.
In an ideal world we would vary foods meal to meal in order that we obtain a broad spectrum of the nutrients we need.
As our lives become more hectic and our time more precious it has become increasingly less likely that we are obtaining or eating a sufficiently varied diet to obtain those nutrients regularly.
The power supply of your body is the process whereby you consume and extract from your food intake those nutrients you need to survive and the additional requirement when you train and compete:
Carbohydrates & Fat: are needed to fuel activity and the main energy source for the brain. Sources include fruits, bread, grains and starchy vegetables and sugars.
Protein: is the major structural component of the cells and is responsible for muscle regeneration. It is made up of amino acids, some of which are essential and can only obtained from the food we eat.
Fat: not all fat is unhealthy for your body. Healthy sources of fats like omega-3 are found in fish walnuts and vegetable oils.
Vitamins: they perform and support a number of functions within the body. Rich sources are fruits, juices and vegetables. Some cooking styles remove vitamins (cooking spinach removes around 66% of the vitamin C) so even consuming vegetables with your meal does not mean that the vitamins are at the levels we would expect.
Minerals: are another nutrient required daily. Sodium, for instance, plays a role in fluid retention. Calcium helps build and maintain bone structure.
Water: not only does water keep the bodily fluids in a regulated state, it removes toxins from the body. We should consume 35ml per kilo of bodyweight daily which increases when active.
All of the above represents a calorie intake and the athlete must know not only the base level for their daily needs but also the requirement to cover training and competition. It is estimated this is 2000 calories for a woman and 2500 calories for a man.
A competitive athlete could consume double their base level daily when training is factored in.
So in this world where time pressure and fast food is dominant, sports science is the friend of the athlete. Where required there is a product to support your needs, often in an easy to use format to ensure you get the nutrients you need to perform to your best.
It means to vary their diet every day, alternating frequently foods to be sure to take all the nutrients we need.
In many cases, however, it is difficult to follow a healthy diet because of the stressful lifestyle, intense work, the frantic and unruly rhythms, reducing the possibility to provide to our body the proper supply of nutrients essential for the well-being and for the performance of physical activities.
The power supply is the basis of the functioning of the body: its task is to convert the chemical energy comes from foods work in the body, then into mechanical energy. Through the nutrients feeding performs various tasks:
It brings energy material (carbohydrates and fat) necessary to carry out any activities
It provides the structural elements (proteins and minerals) fundamental for the growth and maintenance of an healthy body and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace elements) which are essential to the basic biochemical reactions needed for life.
The concept of “energy balance” expresses the need to introduce a larger amount of food in proportion to the activity and the energy consumed; in sport, the daily calorie requirement varies from 2,000 to 5,000 kcal, depending on gender, age, intensity and exercise duration supported.
When the intake of nutrients in the diet is not enough to cover the daily requirements, you can take dietary supplements useful to compensate for nutritional deficiencies caused by: poor nutrition, disorderly diet, food prejudices or increased needs due to intense sport or work activities.
The task of food supplements is to ensure the right distribution between the nutrients, which can be divided as follows:
> Protein and amino acids, which make for 4kcal per gram, representing about 12-15% of daily energy intake recommended feeding sportsman, against 10-12% commonly in sedentary individuals. Proteins are a constituent part of the muscle tissue, place a plastic function, and can also be used as an energy source;
> Carbohydrates, which provide 4kcal per gram and account for about 55-60% of daily energy intake and constitute the main source of energy for the body; divided into simple and complex sugars, they may have different rates of assimilation, allowing you to have a reserve of energy in the short and long term;
> Fibre contained in plant foods, which play important functions in the intestine, favoring the metabolic processes related to the absorption of some nutrients;
> Fats and Fatty acids, which bring 9kcal per gram and make up 25-30% of daily energy intake and are a key to long-term energy reserves. The essential fatty acids are also useful for favoring lipid balance, the cardiac function and the prevention of cardiovascular disease;
> Water, which represents about 60% of our body; it is advisable to drink at least 1.5 l per day. It is essential to assume a constant amount and adjust to restore the physiological water loss.
> Vitamins, which perform different functions and energy regulation. Among the most important activities have antioxidant properties, cell protection, indispensable for the sportsman that produces a high amount of free radicals that damage the cellular structure;
> Minerals and trace elements, which play an essential role in all biological processes activated during exercise, such as muscle contraction, energy production and hydrosaline balance.
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