Photo Credit: Activatesport.co.uk
Several factors affect your overall sports performance. Aside from your training, coaching, and equipment or gear you are using, your diet and nutrition plays an important role in how far you will advance in your chosen sport. In order to achieve peak performance, you must first eat right.
All foods are made up of nutrients. Nutrients can be classified according to these groups:
The main source of energy, this should make up a bulk of your diet.
The source of amino acids, these are ‘building blocks’ of muscles and tissues.
A source of energy, this is also essential for the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins
Minerals & Vitamins
Inorganic minerals, water and fat-soluble vitamins are essential for many of the body’s processes
Dietary fibre is basically indigestible parts of the diet. Adequate fibre intake is necessary for a healthy digestive system.
Making up almost 70% of our body composition, water is integral to proper body function as it carries nutrients to all parts of the body.
Athlete Nutrition Requirements
Individual nutritional requirements will vary from person to person. Generally, athletes are recommended to follow a healthy diet with a variety of foods, providing nutrients across all the nutrient groups.
However, as an athlete looking to hit peak performance, it will benefit you to pay more attention to your nutrient breakdown. Depending on your chosen sport and the intensity of your training, your needs may differ. For example, a long distance runner will require more carbohydrates than other athletes as he requires energy to sustain endurance training. A football or soccer player, on the other hand, may require a higher mix of protein and carbohydrates as he needs intense energy and stamina to power through a football game.
Other factors that must be taken into consideration are your training phase (during training, competition preparation and recovery) and lifestyle.