A Beginner’s Guide to Sports Nutrition

Eating correctly is essential at any stage of life. The same or more importance should be given to training, but it will be useless to train hard and daily if you do not understand sports nutrition. Food, therefore, plays a fundamental role in your day to day life to achieve your goals. Providing the necessary nutrients to maintain an optimal state of health is essential. Health equals performance and recovery. Depending on how an athlete eats, they will be able to see how their performance improves or, on the contrary, is limited or even decreased, since a poor diet can lead to injuries and fatigue.

Start a Life With Healthy Habits

Losing fat, increasing muscle mass, and improving performance … for these, two things are essential: the training-objective itself and your nutritional plan. If you want to achieve your goals, you have no choice but to “combine” both. With this, you will not only win to achieve your goal, but we will also improve at other levels:

  1. Health improvement
  2. Efficiency when buying food
  3. Improvement of self-esteem
  4. Improvement of body composition
  5. Self-confidence, being able to achieve a goal
  6. Economic savings

Sports Nutrition Specifications

All sports need a nutritional dietary intervention, perhaps of special importance sports of more than two hours duration and high intensity where the food strategy will be key to being able to supply with energy throughout the test, since the energy stores from carbohydrates are limited and having studied a diet pattern will ensure you perform until the end of the test. A balanced diet is one that covers all the needs of both macro and micronutrients, that provides energy sufficiency, that does not make you gain weight or lose it, as varied as possible, that includes all the essential food groups (cereals, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, dairy or derivatives, and olive oil) and that is attractive to the palate.

Common Mistakes in Dieting

Among the most common mistakes is listening to a friend. However, he has good intentions but not the right knowledge, or to read a multitude of posts on the Internet, which sometimes his objective is not exactly the new public, but more experienced people …

  • As you read that to gain mass or volume, we have to eat a lot of calories, well then I get to work, and since I am training, of course, I will spend those calories, and I will not gain any fat … The weeks go by, and the form it takes, the person is increasingly looking like a figure from a well-known tire brand …
  • As you can see that your friend, or an acquaintance of him, is following this diet, because of course, your logic will make you act in the same way, and if you follow the same instructions, you will soon become like him, and even overcome … Another little mistake.

Eat a Wide Variety of Foods

There’s a myth about carbohydrates, they are important, but an athlete should consume more than that. If a person wants to boost their athletic performance in the long term, it is a bad idea to focus exclusively on one type of food in particular. Carbohydrates are an important fuel, but they are only one of the many types of food an athlete needs. Athletes must also take in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat to be in peak shape. Athletes may need more protein than teens who lead less active lives, but most teens who play sports get enough protein from what they eat. The claim that athletes need to eat a significant amount of protein each day to build strong and resilient muscles is pure fiction. Muscle growth is achieved with regular training and hard work. Also, eating too much protein can be harmful to the body, causing dehydration, calcium loss, and even kidney problems. Better protein foods are fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, tree nuts, soy, and peanut butter.

Sports Nutrition

Avoid Supplements

Energy bars and protein bars are not very good for athletes, but they are not very harmful either. However, energy drinks contain a high amount of caffeine, so they should not be taken before exercising. Other types of supplements can be harmful. Anabolic steroids can significantly alter the hormonal levels of those who take them, causing side effects such as a reduction in the size of the testicles and baldness in boys or the appearance of facial hair in girls. Steroids can also lead to mental health problems, such as depression and emotional ups and downs.

Some supplements contain hormones related to testosterone, such as dehydroepiandrosterone (or DHEA). These supplements can have side effects similar to those of anabolic steroids. Other sports nutrition supplements (like creatine, for example) have not yet been evaluated in people under 18 years of age, so the risks they pose in the adolescent population are unknown. Salt tablets are another supplement that we must be aware of. People take them to avoid dehydration. However, salt tablets can promote the dehydration process. When salt is taken in large quantities, it can cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, and alter the stomach’s inner lining. In general, you will feel much better if you drink fluids to stay well hydrated. All the salt you lose through sweat can be recovered by drinking sports nutrition drinks and food after exercising.

Avoid Dehydration

If we talk about dehydration, we will have to affirm that water is as important for an athlete to perform at their best as their diet. When a person sweats while exercising, it is easy for them to become excessively hot, have a headache, and feel exhausted, especially in hot or humid climates. Even mild dehydration can negatively impact an athlete’s physical and mental performance. There is no universal formula for how much water an athlete should drink. The amount of liquid an athlete needs to drink will depend on their age and size, the intensity of the physical activity they practice, and the environmental temperature. Experts recommend that athletes drink both before and after exercising, as well as every 15 to 20 minutes during sports. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty because thirst is a sign that your body has needed to drink for some time. But do not force yourself to drink more fluids than you need either. Running is hard when you have a lot of water splashing in your stomach! If you like the taste of sports nutrition drinks more than water, it is okay to drink them. But you must know that sports drinks are no better than water unless you are doing sports for more than 60 to 90 minutes at a time or in very hot weather. The carbohydrates and electrolytes in sports nutrition drinks can improve your performance in these types of conditions, but in other situations, your body will work just as well with water.