When it comes to sports nutrition, sometimes there is confusion on what to eat and mostly when to eat. Before making a nutrition plan, you should know your goal. When you are on a fitness journey, you need proper training, nutrition and rest. Remember "you are what you eat", and 70% contribution to your success goes to your food. Let us assist you in demystifying the world of nutrition.
Sports nutrition isn't about to start eating supplements, but it is about forming a well-balanced diet. Let's go through a list of nutrients essential for a well-balanced diet.
Macros & Micros
Macros are carbs, fats and proteins.
Micros are vitamins and minerals.
- Carbs give you energy and should be ~50% of your diet.
- The glycaemic index (GI) - Carbs that break down fast during digestion have a higher GI. High GI carbohydrates release their glucose into the blood quickly. Low GI carbs break down slowly, release glucose gradually into the bloodstream.
- HGI carbs give you a quick energy boost.
- The body does not store protein.
- Protein is essential for muscle structure and contractility.
- You should at least eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight.
- Each gram of protein provides you with 4 kcal per gram of energy.
- A protein is a chain of amino acids connected. There are 20 different amino acids commonly found in plant and animal proteins. For adults, 8 of these are essential. (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine, Threonine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan and Lysine)
- Fats also stores energy, but much more than carbs.
- There are two types of Fats saturated (bad) and unsaturated (good) fats, you should limit the saturated fat as much as possible within your diet.
- Fats help in absorption of vitamins and providing energy.
- Fats provide essential fatty acids. Fatty acids have many functions, including energy storage.
Eat small and frequent meals.
Make sure you have a source of protein in each of your meal. Get a diet plan and start recording what you eat. The diet recording gives you a clear picture of your progress.
For a sportsperson or a gym-goer, Sports nutrition plays a vital role in addition to healthy eating habits. It helps improve performance and achieve fitness goals.
Protein products are essential to help maximise muscle growth.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones.
Exercise induces muscle growth, and protein helps recovery and evolution.
Hydration plays a vital role in sports nutrition as well.
To break-down protein into amino acids, the body needs water, which means that excess protein consumption makes you thirsty.
Kidneys break down protein and will pull water from elsewhere in the body to keep up with the extra protein. The body also loses fluid via sweat, and you must refill it; otherwise, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
Your urine will give you a good indication of how hydrated you are. If it is a pale straw colour, you are relatively well hydrated, anything darker than this, you should increase your fluid uptake.
Please note, If you are taking multivitamin supplements, your urine can be pale straw colour. Please do not confuse it with dehydration.