Food and nutrition for athletes

January arrives and our routines, our work, the university, the gym, the bicycle, return. We realize that those little freedoms we gave ourselves in December, either for the holiday season or simply for the action of sharing, call our attention this month. A few extra pounds, it’s difficult for us to resume our activities and it leads us to wipe the slate clean.

Food and nutrition for athletes

That’s why Team® in the company of “Nudo, experts in nutrition, wellness and healthy living”, developed this small content with key tips when it comes to retaking our routines of physical activity and sports, based on a good and appropriate diet and nutrition to achieve our goals in the proper way.

Ready, set, go!

We know that when we exercise, a series of changes in our metabolism occur that are beneficial for our health. For example:

  • It improves our respiratory capacity.
  • It decreases insulin resistance and therefore the possibility of   developing  diabetes. 
  • Increases the feeling of well-being.       
  • Improves circulation and oxygenation.

 

To have a better performance during training or sports competitions, nutrition plays a very important role. Remember that proteins (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, etc.), fats (oils, margarines, avocado, nuts, etc.) and carbohydrates (starches and sugars) consumed in our diet are our source of energy (calories) and it has been seen that depending on the distribution of these three nutrients we can have a positive impact on our sports performance.

We also know that during exercise, muscle contractions cause our body to get four times more glucose. Proper replacement of carbohydrates is associated with better performance. Because:

Food and nutrition for athletes

Before ecercise:

It is advisable to consume a carbohydrate with a low glycemic index such as oats in flakes prepared in milk or water.Combining it with pieces of fruit or a teaspoon of honey can be a good alternative. Different studies have shown that the combination of glucose and fructose is associated with a better performance than eating only fructose or only glucose. These slow-release carbohydrates will help you keep your blood glucose levels normal.

During exercise:

If the activity is to be prolonged for more than 90 minutes, it is advisable to refill carbohydrates either through hydrating drinks or rehydration serums, gels or bars and / or any other food containing carbohydrates.

After exercise:

Mixtures of carbohydrate and protein are associated with maintenance and gain of muscle mass. It is recommended that a mixture of protein and carbohydrate, for example rice with egg, porridge of oatmeal with addition of protein module or a Greek yogurt with fruit, is recommended to be consumed maximum 30 minutes after practicing the exercise.

Hydration:

Between two (2) and four (4) hours before the exercise, hydration should be started with 5 to 10ml of water per kg of weight. When the exercise is to be performed in very hot climates, in times of more than 90 minutes and with moderate or high intensity, it is advisable to consume moisturizing drinks that also provide sodium, such as oral rehydration serums.

 

During and after training you should replace the sweating losses,

which can reach 2 to 3 percent of the total weight.

Fats and exercise

During the preparatory phase where there is a high volume of training at moderate intensities; consuming a high-fat diet in the long term has a positive impact especially on those athletes who practice endurance athletic exercise such as cycling. This type of diets, known as ketogenic, increases the metabolism of fats during exercise, reduce the content of fatty tissue in the body composition and decrease post-exercise muscle damage.

Food and nutrition for athletes

Therefore, during the preparation phases for the competitions, it is not recommended to make fat restrictions in the diet. On the contrary, they can play a role in favor as long as polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and 6) predominate in a ratio of 1 to 3 or 4 (1 omega3 for every 3 or 4 omega 6). 

Additionally, fats are essential nutrients in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins, are components of cell membranes, structural part of many hormones and also play a role in inflammatory processes and in the immune response.

Remember, all the nutrients are important. Having a balanced diet, adequate hydration and personalized training are the key to obtaining the best results in your performance, physical condition and general well-being.

Bibliografia:

  • Zaiac et al. 2014. The effects of a ketogenic diet on exercise metabolism and physical performance in off.road cyclist. Nutrients, 6, 2493-2508.
  • Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of sports medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance.  J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116:501-528.
  • Asker E. Jeukendrup. 2011. Nutrition for endurance sports: Marathon, triathlon, and road cycling. Journal of sport sciences. 29: sup1, S91-S99.
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