Athlete – What Does it Take? – By Veron Singh
Athletic Performance is ultimately a culmination of factors and one does not dream of becoming an athlete overnight. These factors include genetics, proper training, adequate nutrition, hydration, a desire for training and rest.
If we take a look at nutrition; it is really quite simple. Sports nutrition is a combination of eating healthy, using proper supplements and eating proper sports food. This is conducive for training hard, achieving sports goals and reducing the incidents of illness and injury. We can break up nutrition into calories and non-calories. Calories include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Meanwhile non-calories include water,vitamins and minerals. So taking a balanced amount of calories; whilst hydrating and enhancing the body with non-calories is essential for any serious athlete.
The signs of poor nutrition are pretty obvious; either excessive weight loss, over-training, proneness to injury, decreased performance and illness arising from neglecting caloric intake as well as adequate non-caloric intake. So now lets take a look at the main macro-nutrients required for athletic success in the gym and on the field.
– The following is a typical example of highly nutritious food an athlete eats
Carbohydrates can be broken down into starch, fiber and sugars.
Starch itself is a great way to store energy in the body for prolonged use throughout the day; foods high in starch include oats, sweet potato, chickpeas and kidney beans. These types of starch foods are not only great for athletic performance but for overall health and well-being. Meanwhile there are also starch foods to AVOID or eat in moderation such as breads,cereals, artificial juices and beer !
Fiber on the other hand is great for digestion and is mainly found in plant based foods such as oranges,bananas, apples and pears as well as in nuts,grains and beans.
Sugar can either be added or natural and any athlete should know that too much refined/added sugar is detrimental to long term-health even though it may help in short-term performance. Natural sugar foods also contain a good amount of fiber, minerals and essential nutrients. These sugar foods include dairy and fruit products such as milk, cheese, watermelon,blueberries etc. The USDA – US Department of Agriculture recommends a consumption of 2 to 2,5 cups of fruit daily for men. Meanwhile 1.5 – 2 cups for women who are 30 and over. Additionally 2 – 3 servings of dairy products are required.
Now there are 4 types of fats ; saturated, monounsaturated,polyunsaturated and trans fat. Among these the best is any unsaturated fats which can be found in plant sources such as olives,nuts and seeds. Saturated fats; which are more solid or fixed in nature are found in animal products such as pork, beef etc. and must be avoided. Therefore if you want the benefit of good fats with oils that contain both poly and mono unsaturated fats; it is best to consider plant sources!
Now, I’ve always been an advocate of vegetarian eating ; for more information on this topic check out : https://powerandpurpose718552827.wordpress.com/blog-2/ . Not only does vegetarian foods contain all the benefits of unsaturated fats, nutrients and protein; but it is far superior for longevity, health and overall performance in the long run.
However to get an adequate amount of protein there are vegetarian alternatives and non-vegetarian foods such as fish and chicken. Foods that are high in protein also include eggs, soy, milk and white meats.
Those who are more inclined at resistance training should consider supplementation; by taking foods such as “whey protein, pea protein and egg-white protein” all of which are conducive to muscle gain and fueling the body with nutrients and minerals.
For Additional Tips on Choosing Healthy Food : https://happylifesteps.com/tips-for-choosing-healthy-foods/
“Not only does vegetarian foods contain all the benefits of unsaturated fats, nutrients and protein; but it is far superior for longevity, health and overall performance in the long run.”
Depending on your athletic goals; there are certain types of exercises which either need to be focused on primarily or need to even be avoided if you want to achieve a desirable outcome. In essence there are three types of training; endurance training, resistance training and sports training.
Endurance training such as marathon running requires not only a greater amount of non-caloric consumption; but also an adequate amount of calories to fuel the body. I an sure you have heard of slow twitch fibers; these fibres are required for endurance training especially in the muscles. They are reliant on the aerobic system and enable consistent output which is needed for marathon running. If you want to develop these muscle fibers
Resistance training requires more calories due to muscle breakdown and thus implementing a scheme of “train, eat. sleep”; somewhere in your routine is necessary; if you expect to see results from resistance training. Now endurance trainers especially have developed fast-twitch fibers which are responsible for explosiveness and reliant on the anaerobic system.
Finally sports training is a combination of both endurance and resistance; therefore the amount of caloric/non-caloric consumption varies. Also the amount of both short-twitch and fast-twitch fibers in the muscle are at different amounts according to the athlete, the sport they play and the training that they do.
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