Nutrition is very important, especially when you do sports.
Nutrition is indispensable to provide our body the energy necessary to face any kind of daily activity. Even more when you do sports, the nutrition, or rather, the proper nutrition allows our body to take on the sport in the best way, without running the risk of excessive fatigue or even illness.
For this reason the power of the sportsman is differentiated both to the sport which is practiced, both to the specific characteristics of the person who practice sports. For example whether it is male or female, depending on its age, or in the presence of a possible situation of overweight or underweight, and so on.
Do you think there are metabolic differences between people who practice sport, sedentary people and real athletes?
Of course! The increased consumption of energy is determined by muscle mass: therefore between two people who have the same body weight but different amount of muscle mass, the more muscular requires more energy than the others (and it will consume more!).
Sports differ in the duration and intensity of the effort to do, so there are: light, moderate, severe and heavy activities.
Depending on the effort, are used different source of energy and are going to develop different muscle fibers.
- In rest conditions 87% of energy comes from fat and 13% from the sugars.
- During an exercise of medium intensity and / or medium duration the energy is supplied for the 50% from fats and 50% from sugars
- During a very high intensity exercise and short duration the energy is supplied almost entirely from glycogen (approximately 100%)
- During prolonged exercise and high intensity 70% of the energy comes from fat and 30% from the sugars.
The sportman “diet” is composed of:
- Carbohydrates should represent 60-63% of the energy “added” with meals; prefers complex carbohydrates. Simple sugars should not abound: more simple sugars assume more insulin is produced and the result will be the so-called “low blood sugar” during sports performance.
- Lipids: 25% of total energy. It is true that the athlete often does not have a very developed lipid mass, but this is essential especially in lasting sports, it is important to take an appropriate amount of good quality lipids.
- Protein: 12-15% of total energy. There is a big cliché about the proteins in the sporting world. It is true that athletes need more protein than someone who does a sedentary lifestyle, but nowadays we already assume a higher quantity of protein than our real needs, so very often the athlete does not need to assume an amount of protein foods higher than normal or to use, worse yet, integrators (which do nothing but weigh the kidneys down!).
- Water, minerals and vitamins: as you well know, during any sports activity you tend to sweat, and it means losing some of the water and minerals of our body. For this reason is important, especially for athletes, be always well hydrated and taking fruits and vegetables every day. Vitamin supplements, minerals and energy should be taken with caution and when there is a true need, as a proper nutrition alone can provide everything an athlete needs!
What to eat before a sports performance?
First of all you have to eat two or three hours before the performance, not to compromise digestion and performance itself! Primarily should be eaten complex carbohydrates (pasta, bread, rice, potatoes) as they are easily digested and provide a ready source of energy, and therefore avoid excessive intake of lipids and proteins, to avoid a long and “heavy” digestion.
More generally you have to eat in moderation!
Contrary to what you think, also the meal next to a sport performance should be moderate.
The body is in fact already fatigued and needs to recharge and to reform the glycogen reserves used; for this reason what you need most is a meal rich in complex carbohydrates, accompanied by a just and moderate amounts of protein and lipids.
Remember that to improve sports performance there are no special foods but just distribute nutrients and take them in a balanced and harmonious way!
WHO-World Health Organization- Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD) (http://www.who.int/topics/nutrition/en/)