Athletes must follow slightly different guidelines when it comes to nutrition because of the different energy needs their activities place on their body. An athlete-s nutritious diet should include each type of food for vitamins and minerals. The following is a general guide for fine tuning athletic diets, but individuals should make modifications based on the time length and type of energy demands for their particular sport.
Carbohydrates are most commonly associated with athletes requiring endurance. While it is true that carbohydrates provide efficient energy, they are not only useful to athletes exerting themselves for more than 90 minutes. Carbohydrates are metabolized first and require less oxygen to process than fat, so they are a very useful energy source in activities that cause shortness of breath. However, there is a maximum to the amount of carbohydrates the body can store in the form of glycogen. In endurance activities lasting multiple hours, it will be necessary to replenish even if you have carb-loaded for the previous few days.
Fat is the other primary energy source used by athletes. If a diet is completely fat free, it can actually inhibit one-s performance. Athletes that endure a longer period of aerobic exercise will utilize more fat and can actually begin to metabolize fat much quicker if their overall fitness level is high. For this reason, fatty food should not be avoided. Instead, consuming fat in moderate calorie quantities will help to provide your body with the fuel reserve it needs.
Proteins are also an energy source, but they are often misunderstood. Eating protein creates the building blocks that exercise uses to make muscle. However, a protein heavy diet will upset the body-s balance of nitrogen and can lead to faster dehydration. Consuming less than 12 percent of total calories from protein is sufficient.