Sports are becoming a fundamental part of children, adolescent, and adult lives. Athletes are pushing themselves harder and longer in order to access scholarships, professional aspirations, and even Olympic dreams. The diet of any athlete can make a huge difference in performance, endurance, and recovery. The body requires a certain level of quality of food and fluid to exert and restore muscle capacity. The following guidelines are intended for any competitive athlete to achieve their personal best.
Your daily caloric requirements come from three macronutrients that include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Water is the only macronutrient that does not provide calories, but it is vital for life. Along with these nutrients, come micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. A balanced meal plan will incorporate these macronutrients over a twelve-hour period to provide satiety. Carbohydrates are the most important and least consumed nutrient for any athlete. Carbohydrate needs are increased in the following circumstances:
variation in outside temperature
increase in sport intensity
The ideal source of carbohydrates pre and post-exercise are high glycemic index foods. Athletes are encouraged to eat every 2-3 hours to sustain glucose levels. Meals and snacks should be carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, bread, crackers, fruit, or juice.