Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sports nutrition part 1: Does your food = success?

Superior athletic ability comes from genetics and training. However, witout good food choices and the correct timing of meals, your training and performance will suffer. You need a fueling plan that includes the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, enough vitamins and minerals, and the correct amount of fluids.

Nutrition is one of the corner stone’s of athletic success, combined with training, skill set and rest. You cannot train harder to make-up for a poor diet, or sleep, less and expect to compete at an elite level. Eating for performance equals eating on a schedule; this does not mean you have to clock in for meals, but it does mean that you should get a better understanding of what, how much, and when you eat for optimal performance.

Eating for Performance Goals:

1. Keep a high energy level throughout workouts

2. Repair and strengthen muscles

3. Avoid illness, infection, or any outside force that could suppress immune
system during training

4. Recover from training and prepare for practice, or event

Athletes must fuel the body with calories and nutrients from “healthy” foods. Sports scientists generally recommend a high-performance diet – in moderation – consisting of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Carbohydrates and fats provide the raw material that creates ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that is the true energy source inside the cell. Your daily food intake must contain adequate amounts of calories and nutrients to meet this demand.

Carbohydrates – Play a vital role in many functions of the body, but one of the main functions is to provide energy for the contracting muscle. The storage form of carbohydrates is called Glycogen; found mainly in muscle and the liver. Muscle glycogen is a readily available energy source for the working muscle. Athletes require Carbohydrates in all phases of working out and competition. The brain is highly dependent on glucose as a fuel, so remember carbohydrates are not the enemy.

Fats – Contrary to belief fat is a contributor to health and performance for athletes. You need fat for energy,and to move substances in and out of cells, and it helps keep your brain and nervous system healthy. Lastly, fat helps your body to use some vitamins as well as plant chemicals known as "phytochemicals."

Protein – Major functions include build, repair and maintain your body’s muscle tissue and provide energy, if necessary. Protein is also responsible for healthy blood cells, Key enzymes and strengthening the immune system. Protein cannot build muscle alone, it requires carbohydrate calories to provide the body with energy.

•Vitamins and Minerals - do not give you more energy, but they help to unlock the energy stored in food so your body can use it as fuel.

•Fluid - Water is the most important nutrient; be sure to replace the fluids you lose through sweat when you are active.

Aim to be consistent in your eating habits, go for quality foods and remember timing of meals will impact your performance. Know your schedule and plan ahead by bringing or purchasing appropriate foods and beverages. Try to eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day to maintain energy levels but don’t have a large meal right before an event. Good eating habits are important at all times (before the game, after the game, and during the off-season)

Part 2 will focus on foods that = success and when to eat them, stay tuned!

Helpful websites:
NCAA Nutrition and Performance


  1. May be. yet that could not be further from the truth.

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  2. I think Taking a supplement isn't actually a bodybuilding requirement. If your diet is adequate, you don't need to supplement it to build muscle.

    sports nutrition