Here is some general information on Nutrition and Sports Performance for your guidance.
YOUR NUTRITIONAL GAME PLAN
The importance of good nutrition and the effect it has on performance is widely accepted.
An adequate diet, in both quality and quantity before, during and after training and competition will maximise performance.
Sound nutrition is not only important for the elite athlete, the benefits are there for the weekend warrior as well as top performers.
Whatever the sport, nutrition should be an integral part of training strategies.
The primary concern for any athlete is energy – that is: Calories.
Calories are fuel and too much or too little will affect performance.
What calories are made up of is also crucially important if the athlete is going to get the best out of the food they eat.
In the optimum diet for sport: Carbohydrate should contribute about 60/70% of total energy intake and protein about 12%; with the remainder 18% coming from fats.
Adequate fluid is necessary to avoid dehydration – an area most athletes could improve on.
Sports generally involve periods of aerobic and anaerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise: which is dependent on free air (oxygen), using and strengthening the heart and lungs and increasing capacity. i.e: running, swimming.Anaerobic: Exercises which are not dependent on air or oxygen: static; i.e. weight training etc.
The overall aim of sports nutrition is to:
(a) provide sufficient energy to support consistent and intensive training;
(b) increase carbohydrate intake to 60/70% of total energy intake:
(c) to ensure adequate fluid intake to maintain hydration and
(d) maintain variety of food choices to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
Carbohydrate is a crucial fuel for exercise – all forms of exercise whether aerobic of anaerobic use carbohydrate.
During aerobic exercise (running) the body uses a mixture of fat and carbohydrate, whereas in more intense anaerobic work (Weights) only carbohydrate or glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrate) can meet the high energy demands.
However the snag with glycogen is that only limited amounts of it can be stored.
Regular training and competition results in low or depleted glycogen stores which leads to a more sluggish performance and increased risk of injury.
Strategies to minimise this problem should include; eating a high carbohydrate diet the whole time during the training season to avoid burn-out; consuming carbohydrate during long bouts of exercise to maintain energy levels ; refuelling properly after exercise sessions to replenish supply.
How much Carbohydrate do athletes need? Athletes in regular intensive training should aim for 7-10g carbohydrate per Kg of body weight per day.
For a 70Kg male this would mean a daily intake of 500/700g – a lot of carbohydrate.
To get the proper amount of calories in as carbohydrate, fat intake needs to be reduced to prevent unnecessary weight gain.
However a certain amount of fat is needed to provide essential vitamins and care should be taken not to cut out valuable foods such as dairy products, meats and oily fish just because they contain some fat.
Base all meals around carbohydrate rich foods, they should take up half the plate: Potatoes; Rice; Pasta and Noodles – Breads and Breakfast Cereals; Fruits – Fresh, tinned or dried starchy Vegetables – Beans, Peas and Pulses.
Fit your Training around eating: eat lower carbohydrate foods 2/3 hours before Matches: foods such as white bread, sandwiches, rolls, pitta bread, scones or pancakes.
Eat or drink carbohydrates as soon as possible after exercise to refuel – more frequent smaller meals may be more suitable than only 3 meals a day.
The muscles refuel best during the first few hours after exercise so carbohydrate as foods or fluid (1g per Kg body weight every 2 hours) should be taken as soon as possible.
This is vital when repeated bouts of exercise are demanded.
Seventy per cent of the body is water. During exertion water is lost through sweating and rapid breathing.Loss of 1-2% of the body weight causes a deterioration in performance and may be the reason why goals are often conceded towards the end of a match. Plenty of drinks should be taken during training days and in the days leading up to a game. Thirst is an unreliable indicator of need.
Water is best in the hour before a game (half to one pint) and a 5% solution of glucose at half time.
Try to drink water during stoppages in the game, and obviously the hotter the weather the more should be drunk.
PREPARE TO PLAY
SUMMARY: BE WELL HYDRATED BEFORE EXERCISE; HAVE FLUIDS ON HAND AND PRACTISE DRINKING REGULARLY DURING TRAINING; CHOOSE FLUIDS THAT ARE COOL AND PALATABLE; REHYDRATE WELL AFTER EXERCISES WITH WATER OR AN ISOTONIC DRINK – ALCOHOL AND CAFFEINE CONTAINING DRINKS ENCOURAGE THE BODY TO LOSE FLUID AND ARE NOT GOOD FOR REHYDRATION
IT IS STRESSED THAT THE ABOVE IS ONLY A GUIDE BASED ON A REPORT BY RUTH WOOD-MARTIN, ACCREDITED SPORTS DIETITIAN AND ATHLETES SHOULD CONSULT NUTRITIONAL EXPERTS BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY EXCESSIVE OR INTENSIVE NUTRITIONAL PROGRAMME.
PREPARE PROPERLY TO PERFORM