What’s the Best Diet Plan for Athletes?
Athletes are expected and trained to work their body to the best of their ability in sports. What is critical beyond training in a typical athleteâ€™s regimen is the diet. A proper nutrition complements an athleteâ€™s training program. Besides, a nutritious diet enhances healthy and safe eating practices and contributes to the success of the athlete.
It offers the required nutrients that an athlete needs to compete and train. A typical diet plan for an athlete includes different food related decisions that an athlete needs to take in terms of food choices, meal, food intake, snack schedule etc. Here is the typical nutrition requirement of an athleteâ€™s body and what must be a part of an athleteâ€™s diet plan:
A diet plan for athletes must include a certain number of calories and lot of fluid to compensate for the fluid loss that happens as they sweat. Calories refers to the measure of energy intake. Calories are generated from food that an individual consumes and thereby, fuels his or her body for daily living and training.
According to Eat to Compete, a sports nutrition website by the Iowa State University, the number of calories that one needs every day depends on oneâ€™s age, weight, height and activity level. Considering that the required number of calorie depends on a personâ€™s body, the number varies greatly from one individual to another.
For instance, a woman gymnast weighing 70 kgs may need 2000 calories per day and a male gymnast weighing 70 kgs may need 3000 calories per day. To measure oneâ€™s calorie requirement, one must check with a dietician as to how much of it is required on the grounds of the particular individualâ€™s height, weight, age etc.
About 70 percent of a human body is filled with water. Therefore, even slight dehydration can affect mental and physical performance drastically. Severe dehydration can be dangerous to an individual and may, at some point, be the cause of death.
Athletes, especially, lose a lot of fluid while working out by way of sweating. The amount of fluid loss can vary depending on the temperature in which exercising is employed and the degree of training. A major component of any athleteâ€™s diet plan is a high amount of fluid to keep the body hydrated for competition and training. Athletes must by any principle drink before and after competitions and before and during exercises to replace any lost fluid.
Fluid sources according to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute include sports drink, water and water containing foods such as vegetables, soups and fruits.
Carbohydrates are a major source of fuel for exercising and training for the athletes. Athletes should consume low glycemic index carbohydrates before workout to enable a long-lasting energy flow without causing sharp fall or rise in the blood sugar levels. Eating high glycemic index after workout, preferably as soon as workout helps to replenish the muscle glycogen stores to ensure the athlete is prepared for the following workout. An athlete must have access to healthy sources of carbohydrates such as grains, fruits and dairy products at all times.
Fats and Protein
Protein helps the body build. It helps in the building of body tissues including the muscles. Dietary protein helps one sustain life. Therefore, without the basic intake of protein, one may not sustain life for long.
According to Eat to Compete, athletes need approximately 1g to 1.8g of protein per kilogram of total body weight. Dietary protein must be gathered from lean sources such as soy, chicken and fish.
Red meat gives plentiful of iron though it may also be high in saturated fat, which is unhealthy for the body. Fat is the only and therefore, the primary source of fuel for endurance for the athletes. Fats must be limited to less than 35 percent of everyday calorie intake and concentration must be high on unsaturated fats in an athleteâ€™s diet plan.