The athlete’s diet: the perfect nutrition for those who practice sports
How to eat when doing sports? What are the essential foods? Here are the basics for the best athlete’s diet.
The role of calories and macronutrients in the nutrition of athletes, and beyond
Each one of us continuously consumes energy, even while sleeping, but obviously we do so proportionally to our effort. The energy expenditure of each individual is highly subjective, and is calculated based on age, gender, body composition and, most importantly, activity level. Athletes have a higher energy consumption, which must be calculated according to the type of effort made and its duration. This is why they need a balanced diet to enjoy a higher caloric intake and have more energy available.
Which foods cannot be neglected in an athlete’s diet?
The athlete’s diet: how to distribute macronutrients throughout the day and as a function of training
Since each macronutrient has a different function and a specific calorie intake, it is important for athletes to balance the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats they consume during the day. The best advice is to divide daily calories into 55-60% carbohydrates, primarily complex carbs, 25-30% fats and 15-20% proteins.
However, for athletes of all levels it is essential to consider the distribution of nutrients as a function of performance, because performance is directly affected by food intake.
For this reason, before any competition or training, an athlete should eat carbohydrates, which are the main source of energy. We are talking about complex carbohydrates, which we find in pasta but also in crackers, and which, being long-release carbs, provide energy in a constant way, especially for endurance sports performances. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugary fruits, also provide energy; however, this is burnt immediately, so their intake is more appropriate for short-term physical effort. Athletes should instead avoid excessive doses of proteins and fats, especially when they are close to a performance, because their assimilation could require a greater effort in terms of digestion and weigh the athlete down during physical effort.
After physical exercise, it is essential to immediately replenish the fluids and minerals that have been lost and normalize the energy reserves consumed with a good dose of carbohydrates, especially simple carbs. It is also important to have complete meals after sports, with all macronutrients, including proteins, fats, and complex carbohydrates.
The athlete’s diet: what to remember