Nutrition has an important role for sportsmen who engage in rigorous activities. A balance diet is therefore very essential to maintain their energy. Below are tips that can help them to sustain their builds:
1. Get sufficient carbohydrates – They are the main source of energy so athletes need to have them regularly. Prior to an event, they need to increase their intake especially for the long distance athletes and cyclists.
2. Keep a steady level of calorie intake daily – Active athletes need much more calories than the regular individuals so that they can retain their peak performance that is, 2200-3000 calories compared to 1200-1800 for a non athlete.
3. Be well hydrated always – This ensures a balanced electrolyte in the body and prevents dehydration.
4. Focus on ingesting the right fats – They serve as fuel for the energy required for training athletes. Keep to omega 3 fatty acids and not the Trans fats. Omega 3 can be sourced from dietary and sports supplements.
5. Proteins – These are needed to build the necessary strength and body weight. It should comprise 10 – 12% of the food intake.
6. Eat a variety of food – They should include a wide range of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
7. Incorporate minerals in the diet: they are vital especially calcium, iron, zinc and selenium. Fruits and potatoes give a lot of potassium.
8. Prior to an event: the meals must be light and easily digested with enough liquids.
9. Sweets: they are not good prior to an event as they will give sudden changes in the glucose levels that can result in early exhaustion and dehydration.
10. Do not drink coffee: it messes with the performance levels adversely.
For older athletes the following training tips can help them sustain their performance levels:
1. To maintain speed:
- Interval training or hill running. It conditions the aerobic and anaerobic system that results in improved fitness.
Weights. Training in weights tones the muscles, increases strength and maintains the fast twitch of muscle fibers.
- Polymeric exercises; they increase power and strength.
- Creatine supplements; they improve performance for repetitive high power exercises.
2. Endurance: they have high proportions of slow twitch fibers. Proper nutrition plays an important role in protecting their joints from age related deterioration. Nutrients such as
- Vitamin c for formation of collagen
- Omega 3 for anti inflammation
- Sulphur for cartilage health
- Bioflavanoids for good circulation
3. Memory, age and fitness: constant exercise reduces the physical decline of memory and age.