The Excellent Nutrition of Athletes

Before presenting the basic principles necessary for sports nutrition, we will give an overview of the necessary things which the diet needs to include.

1.Synergism – Nutrients do not function individually or for each other. Their true biological functions occur only through mutual interactions.

2.Completeness – The key factor for synergism is the completeness of all ingredients. If only one of the necessary factors is missing, then others can’t fully meet their effects.

3.Biochemical individuality – The nutritional needs of individuals differ just like their fingerprints. Each athlete requires an individual diet, composed by his level of development of the organism.

4.Dynamics of lifestyle – Choosing a lifestyle, such as choosing the level of training, or choosing living in a polluted urban environment, dramatically changes the nutritional needs of a particular person.

5.Accuracy – each type of food requires a certain period of time during the day to achieve optimum body function.

6.Physiological Dynamics – Improved diet can not immediately show results. It should provide enough time to repair the entire body system and only then can it make a beneficial effect on optimal nutrition.

 

Considering these principles it is necessary to plan and combine nutrients to check the effect of their activities and to adjust them until you find the ideal relationship to make great progress.

 

Some nutritionists who know the physiology and metabolism of athletes claim that five meals a day rich in high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, a large amount of water, are sufficient to provide a steady flow of energy materials (carbohydrates) and other materials (amino acids, and some fatty acids), minerals and vitamins.

 

Athletes who want to achieve top results in their diet should follow the following rules:

1.The diet must be energy sufficient

2.The diet must meet the needs of vitamins and minerals

3.The athlete’s meal should not be large in volume, but be small and easy to digest in the body

4.Meals must be arranged according to the schedule of training and competitions (30% breakfast, 40% lunch, 30% dinner and snacks (if necessary 1-2 times)

 

The most important energy needs are:

 

1.Carbohydrates 40-60% – (48% complex and 12% simple).

Carbohydrates are the most important energy materials that athletes use. The products which appear through carbohydrate digestion are glucose, fructose and lactose.

Mostly glucose, and its absorption can be used to provide energy, or deposited in cells in the form of glycogen.

All three products are monosaccharides. The body has 450 g of total carbohydrate reserves, and for top athletes, this value goes up to 750 g.

There are no specific values for daily carbohydrate needs of athletes. The most commonly mentioned is the value of 700 g to 1000 g / day. The total amount of carbohydrates depends on the duration of the training and its intensity.

 

2.Protein 12-15% (2/3 of which are of animal origin, 1/3 of plant origin) make up three-quarters of the living matter in the body and are considered the basis of life.

There are 23 amino acids in the body, and they all have two common characteristics: an acid group consists of the amino group and one free radical.

Animal proteins are important from a physiological aspect, as they contain more essential amino acids, (especially leucine, isoleucine and valine) that are most important for athletes.

There is an opinion that the ideal value ranges from 0.6-1.2 g per kg of bodyweight, however it varies according to the training and its intensity.

 

 3.Fats 25-30% (10% saturated, mono and poly saturated).

In terms of chemical composition they are divided into simple and complex fats as well as fats with similar substances. The last two groups are called lipoids.

Simple fats are esters of fatty acids and alcohols. Fatty acids are divided into saturated and unsaturated as well as hydroxy acids. Unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic, linolenic) are essential fatty acids and can’t be synthesized, but must be consumed through food.

They are essential because they have a role in the functioning of the cells. Their absence leads to disorders in the body. Fats belong to the group of simple neutral fats (triglycerides) and waxes. In athletes fat stores depend on the type of sport they are dealing with.