Basic Principles Of Sports Nutrition

Published on: 03/01/2022 | Last Updated: 28/05/2022
Basic Principles Of Sports Nutrition

Nutrition of athletes is a very important part of their comprehensive training. It aims at the optimal supply of the body with nutrients, which is why it is associated with compliance with a number of basic

Nutrition of athletes is a very important part of their comprehensive training. It aims at the optimal supply of the body with nutrients, which is why it is associated with compliance with a number of basic principles in the nutrition of athletes . These principles are borrowed mainly from a rational and healthy diet and aim to maintain excellent fitness and good health. Proper nutrition is directly related to increasing the capacity and capabilities of the body and sports results.
Many of the principles of nutrition and top diets can be applied to the nutrition of athletes. This is because top diets are in many cases based on proven dietary principles that are in line with human physiology. Thus, the nutrition of athletes may be specific from the point of view of many sports, but it is related to the observance of a number of general principles.

1. Athlete weight - Body weight is the result of genetic predisposition, lifestyle, environment, social environment, family environment, upbringing and is a combination of many factors. Maintaining and achieving optimal weight of the athlete is his primary personal task and is associated with perseverance, motivation, will and mental stability. Many sports require the maintenance of optimal or low weight, which in many cases is directly related to changes in diet and strict adherence to the principles of rational and healthy eating.

2. Uniformity for the day, diversity for the week and the month - Breakfasts are similar in composition, as well as lunch and dinner. This ensures good functioning of the digestive system and better absorption and absorption of nutrients. Such a diet is somewhat closer to the ideas of separate eating. Athletes' daily menu should provide the necessary energy and contain the right ratio of nutrients and enough vitamins and trace elements. The difficulties in preparing the weekly and monthly menu come from the fact that the food must be at the same time varied, high-energy and balanced.

3. Breakfast - Take at least 2 hours before a morning workout and is mostly carbohydrate to provide energy for the body. May contain hot drinks, such as tea and milk, sweetened with a spoonful of sugar or honey. Pre-workout meals should include more concentrated, high-calorie, easily digestible and low-volume foods rich in carbohydrates and vitamins. According to the number of daily meals, it is good to eat 25-30% of daily food for breakfast. If there is an afternoon breakfast, it is light - about 10% of the food for the day.

4. Lunch - Depends on the training regime of the athlete. If lunch is after a workout, eat more food (40-45% of the daily intake) with a higher content of protein, fat and mineral salts. If lunch is before training is in a smaller amount and volume of food (30-35% of daily intake), higher in carbohydrates and more easily digestible food.

5. Dinner - It should be the richest in protein and should be taken by 19:30. If the sport requires the accumulation of muscle mass, 1-2 hours after dinner you can take extra protein product. High-protein dinner is based on the idea that amino acids are better absorbed during a night's sleep, when somatotropic hormone is released in the greatest amount. With three meals, dinner makes up 25-30% of the total amount of food, and with lunch in the afternoon 20-25%. If the athlete has a workout or competition in the afternoon, dinner should be at least an hour later and the volume should be 25-30% of daily food.

6. Composition of food - Nutrition should provide the body with all essential substances - proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If the athlete has to follow a hypo-energy diet, then energy intake is limited at the expense of fats and carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates - The main "fuel" of the body. The body accumulates carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in the muscles and liver. During intense training, this glycogen is depleted and the body begins to draw energy from fats and proteins in the body. An excess of sugars involves the reverse process of converting sugar into fat. Therefore, it is advisable to observe the optimal amount of carbohydrates in the diet. This amount must be able to restore the body's glycogen reserves and provide the body during physical activity. Endurance trainers have the greatest need for carbohydrates, and gymnasts and weightlifters have the least.

Protein - The main building block of the body. They build muscle tissue, participate in the construction of tissue proteins and enzymes. In athletes for strength development and muscle building, they are a major component. However, this only happens when the high-protein intake is properly combined with substances that support anabolic processes. In sports nutrition is determined not only the quantity but also the quality of proteins, ie to contain all essential amino acids for the human body.

Fat - The body's main energy reserve. They build cell membranes, are part of nerve tissue, hormones and more. The more trained the body is, the more fully and quickly it uses fats for energy needs. Marathoners, cyclists, cross-country skiers, swimmers and others have the highest needs for fat.
It is recommended to reduce animal fats by up to 10%, and the remaining amount is supplemented by dairy, fish and vegetable.

Vitamins and minerals - To function properly the human body's metabolism needs vitamins and minerals. They are extremely important for the proper functioning of all organs and systems and the lack of some of them can lead to imbalances and metabolic problems. Therefore, the diet must contain a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals, which are contained mainly in fresh fruits and vegetables. Sports activities are associated with a great need for these substances and in many cases they are also supplied by food supplements.

7. Intake a lot of fluids - Water is needed for the proper functioning of all biochemical processes in the body. In order to be in optimal physical shape, a person must be well hydrated. It is good for athletes to drink fluids before, during and after sports activities for optimal hydration of the body. It is good that the amount of fluid intake is exactly in accordance with physical activity, air temperature and other factors associated with their loss.

8. The fruits are eaten on an empty stomach - due to their easy fermentation, it is good to eat the fruit half or one hour before a meal. Vegetables and salads should be eaten during main meals and seasoned with olive oil.

9. Combining fed is - There are many different theories about the possibilities of combining foods. From those that completely exclude the intake of certain foods together, to those that combine multiple foods. The rational diet combines indigestible foods with vegetables and spices for easier digestion. There are no scientific data on the chemical incompatibility of different foods, but there is evidence of competition in their absorption.

There is evidence that:

  • Fats interfere with glucose transport
  • Sugars prevent the absorption of fat
  • When eating two types of sugars, they interfere with each other
  • Sugars interfere with each other

10. Self-control - It is a decisive factor for all sporting success. Every athlete's diet is an element of his personal freedom, but for high sports results he must follow a certain regime and principles.

More on the topic:
  • Nutrition in football
  • Rowing
  • Nutrition in athletics, skiing, cycling, marathon
  • Nutritional supplements and sports


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