Fuel For Sport

May 30, 2011 No Comments by

The food you eat fuels your performance, at the playing fields, or even at home and work. The right combination of food and exercise will give you the added edge. Here are some fir tips:

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel for physical activity and are an integral part of an athlete’s training program. Breads, grains, cereals, pasta, fruits, and vegetables provide high-octane fuel for muscles and speed up restocking of muscle fuel after exercise. If you aren’t eating enough carbohydrates, you will tire more quickly. The exact amount of carbohydrate required depends on an individuals training and personal requirements. Daily carbohydrate requirements for athletes training heavily can range from 2.7 to 4.5 g per pound (6 – 10 g per kilogram) of body weight.
  • Fluids are critical to high performance. During high activity, fluid losses increase the risk of cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Drink before, during, and after an event as part of your exercise routine. Get into the habit of drinking lots of fluid even on days when you aren’t working out. Water, sports drink, fruits and vegetable juices, or mineral water are good choices. Cold water or sports drinks are recommended for workouts, training sessions, and competitions. Alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating and don’t count as part of your hydrating fluid intake. Drink 14 to 20 oz (400-600 ml) 2 hours before a workout and 5 to 12 oz (150-350 ml) every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise.
  • Time your meals. If you’re running a race or competing in an event, have a low-fat, high-carbohydrate meal 2 to 3 hours beforehand. Eat foods you are familiar with and that you digest easily. Fruit, yogurt, bagels, a smoothie or a bowl of cereal are good choices. If you have food in your stomach when you are working out, blood is diverted away from your digestive tract to your working muscle leading to cramps and a heavy feeling. If you exercise first thing in the morning, you have enough reserve energy from the day before to sustain 60 to 90 minutes of exercise. If you find it difficult to eat breakfast before an early morning workout, have a carbohydrate rich snack before bed a night before. If you exercise later in the day and it has been longer than 4 hours since your last meal, have a snack 45 to 60 minutes before you begin. Your food choices and preferences may vary depending on the time of the day you are exercising, the sport you are doing, and the level of intensity of your workout. You’ll quickly learn which food combination will work best for you.
  • Try carbo loading before endurance events. Carbohydrate loading is appropriate for athlete’s entering marathon or long distance bike races. For events that last less than 90 minutes non-stop, a regular high carbohydrate diet is sufficient. Loading involves reducing training some what 3 to 4 days before a race and increasing carbohydrates to 70 to 80 percent of total calories during this time.
  • Replace sodium and potassium lost during exercise with food. Eat potassium rich foods and vegetables including bananas , oranges, tomatoes. Replace sodium lost through sweat by lightly salting your food after exercise.
  • Physical activity may increase your needs for some vitamins and minerals. However, if you are meeting your demands of calories required and the calories are coming are coming from nutritional foods than you don’t need supplements.

Health And Nutrition
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