The Golden Rules of Sport Nutrition (Energy)

The Golden Rules of Sport Nutrition (Energy)

Energy and endurance are the prime factors in peak performance. With greater energy you can run faster, jump higher, exercise more rigorously. you can also sustain your sporting activity more easily.

You could describe energy as the fuel on which our bodies run. Our bodies create energy by breaking down carbohydrate, fat and, to a lesser extent, protein. each of these three nutrients breaks down into a different energy-giving substance. Carbohydrate is stored as glycogen and breaks down into glucose, fats break down into fatty acids and proteins break down into amino acids. Neither vitamins nor minerals give you energy. Their role is to keep your body working efficiently and to help in the transfer of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The athlete's most precious fuel is glycogen (stored carbohydrate), for it is the key to endurance. At any time, you have only about 8,375kJ (2,000cal) stored in this form, most of it in your muscles and a smaller amount in your liver. By comparison, the energy stored as fat in your body is considerable. Even a person carrying little excess body fat has about 7kg (16lb) of it, representing about 251,200kJ (60,000cal).

The exhaustion of glycogen stores is the limiting factor in sporting performance, if glycogen stores are exhausted, you are exhausted and your performance falters. One of the benefits of training is that your muscles develop an increased capacity to store glycogen. The right training diet will not only provide enough carbohydrate to fill you glycogen stores to enable you to exercise longer and harder, but will also provide you with enough of all the essential nutrients you need to maximize your health, and therefore, your performance.

The Golden Rules of Sport Nutrition (Energy)

- Eat plenty of carbohydrate

- Limit the fat in your diet

- Be sure to eat enough protein

- Eat plenty of dietary fiber

- Cut down on salt

- Eat a variety of foods to make sure you are getting enough minerals and vitamins

- Include plenty of fluids, especially when exercising

- Cut back on alcohol

Your training diet should consist of :

Carbohydrate 55-60%

Protein          12-15%

Fat               25-30%

It is worth pointing out that the recommended intake of carbohydrate for everyone, whether you play sport or not, is 55-60%. The main difference between a normal healthy diet and one geared for sporting performance is in the total quantity of kilojoules (calories) consumed.

However, if you are involved in particularly rigorous training, you may need to draw as much as 65-70% of your total energy from carbohydrate. You will need 7-10g carbohydrate per kilogram of bodyweight per day.

The carbohydrate rich foods - pasta, pulses and rice - make excellent bases for many dishes. Any recipe with more than 20g carbohydrate per serving can be considered high in carbohydrate.

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