Special Nutrition Requirements for Athletes

Its running time! Whether you are an experienced runner or a first-timer, excitement must be all over the place. Along with the type of clothes and shoes you need for a run, you also need to focus on something very important, your diet. Diet and nutrition have a direct impact on your performance. Let’s find out more!1

Getting the right nutrition before, during and after the race helps in1

  • Fuelling your performance

  • Fighting fatigue

  • Reducing the risk of injury

  • Enhancing recovery

How much nutrition do you need?

As an athlete, you are much more active than others. Your body is using up more nutrients than the usual quantity; hence, you need to make sure you replenish the stores regularly. You can clearly see in the figure below that your dietary requirements are more precise and customised to support your performance.1-3

Figure: For athletes exercising more than 5 hours per week

Eat regular meals3

It is important to begin your day with a nutrient-rich breakfast. It helps you get a great kick-start, fuelling your body with the right amount of energy you need for your workout and lets you perform consistently.3

Eat the right quantity and quality of nutrients3

Limit your salt, sugar and fat intake, and blend your diet with proteins, carbohydrates and micronutrients. They all work together to provide a stream of constant energy and support your muscular strength. Watch out on those candies, sodas and fried foods; they are your enemies!3

Carbohydrates and proteins: The numbers3

It is important to understand that your nutritional needs are based on the duration of your activity. The logic is, the more you work out, the more you need. The details are mentioned in the table below.3

Because running events are categorised under long-duration events, it is important for you to consume almost 60% to 70% of carbohydrates, 20% to 30% of fats and 10% to 15% of protein as part of your daily diet prior to the event.3

Starting right away

Although dietary regimens sound complicated, they are actually pretty simple. Don’t try to do all the things at one time, start off by making 1 or 2 changes a week. Your aim should be to retain the existing habits while continuing to make new ones.3

Ensure to choose the right foods in the right quantities every day to get the required nourishment. This will not only pep you up for the race but also keep you fit for life.

Best of luck!
References
  1. Maughan R, Burke L. Nutrition for athletes [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2016 Apr 27]. Available from: http://www.olympic.org/documents/reports/en/en_report_833.pdf

  2. Forumsportnutrition. Food pyramid for athletes [Internet]. [cited 2016 Apr 29]. Available from:

    http://www.forumsportnutrition.ch/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Lebensmittelpyramide_Sport_E1.2.pdf

  3. Weatherwax-Fall D. Different nutritional plans for different athletes. NSCA’s Performance Training J [Internet]. 2016;5(6):12-4. Available from:

    https://www.necc.mass.edu/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/ath-plans-for-athletes.pdf