World-class athletes know that success depends on training and nutrition. Therefore they carefully choose the foods they eat, so the right combination of nutrients will fuel them to success.
This article will include some tips to transform your eating habits into a world-class diet. By eating wisely, you will reap the rewards of being properly fuelled, maximising muscle growth, aide recovery and replenish glycogen stores. You will also have the energy and endurance to power you through your workouts and athletic endeavours.
Carbohydrates are very important for athletes as they maintain blood glucose levels during exercise and replace muscle glycogen. Carbohydrate is stored inside muscles and muscle glycogen is the main fuel during prolonged exercise.
To stay fuelled, the carb recommendations for athletes exercising on a regular highly-intensive basis range from 6 to 10 grams/kg body. The amount required depends on an individual’s total daily calorie expenditure, gender, type of exercise and environmental conditions (i.e. cold, hot or high altitude). For part-time recreational exercisers, the diet should be comprised of around 50% carbohydrates coming from healthy sources such as whole grains and not processed carbohydrates.
Protein recommendations for high endurance, strength-trained athletes range from 1.2 to 1.7 grams/kg body weight. This protein intake can generally be met by diet alone, without the need for protein or amino acid supplements.
Fat intake should range between 20-30% of total calorie intake. Fat should never be restricted below 20% because of it importance as a source of calories. Fluids
Adequate fluid intake before, during, and after exercise is important for your health and to optimise performance. Two to three hours before exercise, drink 0.5l-1l of water, and then another 250-500mls ten to fifteen minutes before exercise. During exercise, drink 200mls every ten to fifteen minutes.
For intense endurance exercise lasting more than 90 minutes or for exercising in extreme conditions (heat, cold, or high altitude), the goal is to drink to stay hydrated and provide carbohydrate so that blood glucose levels are maintained. Intake should provide 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. This carbohydrate can be consumed in a 6-8% carbohydrate sports drink (250-500mls) every ten to fifteen minutes.
Before You Exercise
Food eaten before exercise should be low in fat and fibre, moderate in protein and somewhat high in carbohydrates to maximise the maintenance of blood glucose.
Within half an hour after exercising, your dietary goals are to provide adequate fluids, electrolytes, calories, protein and carbohydrates to replace muscle glycogen and promote recovery.
A carbohydrate intake of approximately 0.5-0.7 grams per half kg during the first thirty minutes and again every two hours for four to six hours will be sufficient to replace glycogen stores. Protein consumed after exercise will provide amino acids for building and repair of muscle tissue.
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