As we put our bodies under stress with various types of sports the demand for tissue repair becomes greater. With proper nutrition we can also achieve improved results based on what sport we focus on. Surely we do not need to discuss nutrition in detail if we look at simple jogging once or twice per week. With more strenuous and competitive sports we can not only prevent injuries and repair the damaged tissue but also improve the results. If we talk about professional athletes nutrition should get as focused on an individual level as possible. These individuals are performing at the peak of human physiology and should plan their meals not only on getting enough macroelements but also microelements.
We tend to forget that proper nutrition doesn’t represent only the right input of certain elements such as vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins etc. It is also essential to eat the right food sources. Individuals can have a problem with intolerance or allergy to a specific food, the most common lactose, gluten intolerance and egg, peanut allergy. Greater amounts of food are needed for a person who is extremely active. Therefore their food sources can vastly improve or worsen performance, health and overall mood.
Creating the diet plan should be based on what sport we focus on. Meals divided into five or six portions are what we should be looking for. This way we ensure the anabolic state at all times, building blocks of protein and energy from carbohydrates are provided evenly during the day. The nutrition around workout is critical. After approximately 18 minutes of exercise the body start to use fat as an energy source and after about an hour and a half the glycogen stores are depleted - for an athlete meaning extreme fatigue(‘’hitting the wall’’). With that in mind we provide drinks containing simple sugars to replenish glycogen levels and sustain one’s energy levels. At the end of strenuous exercise the body is in a catabolic state, demanding for nutrients. Given a drink or food containing simple sugars or amino acids we shift that balance towards anabolic state. Also in the first 2 hours after exercise the glucose uptake into skeletal muscle via GLUT4 transporter is greater. During this period a meal rich in carbohydrates is reasonable.
To sum it all up we first need to understand the level of intensity, type of sport, age, food tolerance of an individual, goals etc. Considering these factors non professionals should educate themselves and eat as well as their circumstances allow. A full support should be provided for professional level athletes. Team of experts including nutritionist and other experts in that area should be consulted. Every body functions differently, so each athlete should be aware of the importance of nutrition and therefore search for the best possible input combination for him.
Acknowledgment I would like to express appreciation for the support of the sponsor Health Centre Celje.
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