Basic sports nutrition for maintaining good physical shape. A balanced diet during sports also determines your performance. In other words, you won’t get the best of yourself or the desired sporting success if you eat wrong. Here we explain which foods you should eat before, during, or after training.
Good to know: When it comes to basic sports nutrition, it is important to know that depending on the type of sport you need different nutrients that can affect your metabolism and thus improve your performance. This means that nutrition in football is different from that for joggers or handball players. If athletes follow simple basic rules in their diet, then they can visibly increase their success.
Basic Sports Nutrition: How Metabolism Can Affect Performance
To be able to apply the basic rules of nutrition for athletes it is necessary to understand first all the functioning of the metabolism. In fact, our metabolism, also called a material exchange, is the basis of all biochemical processes in our body. Not only digestion but also respiration and energy production are part of the metabolic processes. The various functions of our body, and therefore also the performance during sport, therefore depend on the quality of the metabolic processes in our body. During the material exchange, the nutrient components inside the cells are used and transformed. Our body therefore constantly needs nutrients, precisely because one of their functions is to convey energy. Below we present the close correlation between food, sport, and performance.
Basic Sports Nutrition: What Are The Nutrients That Improve Performance?
What are, in fact, the nutrients our body needs during sport? As a rule, our energy needs should be covered by around 50% carbohydrates, 20% by fats, and 15% by proteins. When choosing foods it is important to always pay attention to their quality. In fact, not all carbohydrates are created equal.
Carbohydrates are one of the foods that provide the most energy. In fact, the body is able to store limited amounts of this nutrient in its glycogen stores.
Particularly valuable in sports nutrition are the so-called “good” carbohydrates, which have a low glycemic index. In fact, they prevent blood sugar from rising too much and at the same time provide our body with the energy it needs for a prolonged period. Good carbohydrates are found in particular in wholemeal bread, wheat pasta, and legumes. The so-called “bad” carbohydrates, on the other hand, are present for example in white flour or sugar. In the long run, they make you fat and provide energy in the short term.
Fats, like carbohydrates, are also energy suppliers and therefore play an important role in sports nutrition. As a rule, fats should not be consumed before sports because they are more difficult to digest than carbohydrates. In fact, if while we train on the football field or on the running track our bodies were engaged in digestive processes, sports performance would drastically decrease.
A particular position among all sports foods is covered by unsaturated fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which strengthen the heart and circulation.
Providing enough protein while exercising often makes you think about bodybuilding. In fact, even if you are not interested in sports activities that enhance muscle mass, proteins help in the regeneration processes of muscle fibers that have made an effort and should never be missing even on the table of non-professional athletes.
Valuable sources of protein are for example eggs, lean meat, dairy products, and even legumes.
What You Should Eat Before And After Sports
Typically, there should be at least three hours between your last main meal and your workout. It is therefore a good idea to consume bread or pasta at the right time, to best replenish our carbohydrate reserves. At best, it is best to consume carbohydrates during the main meal, the evening before training, or on an occasion that is not too close to training. For example, an idea could be to organize a pasta party on the eve of the marathon. You should never start training on an empty stomach! A handful of peanuts or two pieces of bitter chocolate are more than allowed just before the sport.
Nutrition And Hydration In Sport
Since you should also pay attention to your nutrient intake while exercising, but eating while exercising is not recommended, this is where hydration comes in. In the context of sports nutrition, drinking not only compensates for the increased fluid requirement but also provides nutrients. The problem is that by losing quantities of water corresponding to even only 1% of our body weight, sports performance decreases exponentially. For this reason, it is good to drink without being thirsty. In fact, our body assimilates water in a time intervals following its intake.
If you are following a balanced sports diet, you should drink at regular intervals throughout the day to keep your fluid intake balanced and constant. Here is another reason to hydrate constantly: only if the intake of fluids is sufficient, the body is able to transport the nutrients where they should go! The best water for athletes is the one rich in sodium. During physical exertion you can also drink isotonic drinks, also useful because they provide a good intake of carbohydrates, thus delaying the symptoms of fatigue. Finally, after sport, it is good to take fruit juices mixed with water (50% water + 50% juice).Read Also: Does Pineapple Juice Wisdom Teeth Have any Relation?
William Cook is an Australian pharmacist who has been blogging about health since 2006. He is the author of two books, including The Complete Guide to Natural Healing and The Complete Guide to Healthy Eating. His blog includes information on natural remedies, healthy eating, fitness, and general wellness.