To be an athlete, it is not enough to lift weights and run on a track. It is also a matter of diet. This is why proper nutrition is essential for anyone wishing to achieve peak performance in their respective sport. A well-thought-out diet plan will ensure that every athlete gets all the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients they need to perform at their best.

In this blog post, we’ll cover what athletes need to focus on when it comes to formulating their nutrition plan. Read on to learn how to eat efficiently while improving your performance in training and competition!

Nutrition plan: how to succeed in adapting your diet according to your physical activity?

The ideal diet for an athlete is not much different from the diet recommended for any healthy person. However, how much of each food group you need depends on the following

  • The type of sports
  • The amount of training you do.
  • The time spent on the activity or exercise.

People tend to overestimate the amount of calories they burn per workout. It is therefore important to avoid absorbing more energy than you expend while playing sports. To improve your performance, avoid training on an empty stomach. Everyone is different, so you will need to learn to:

  • Choose the right time to eat before exercising.
  • Highlight the macronutrients good for your muscle mass and endurance.

When is the optimal time for an athlete to eat before starting their training?

Recent scientific studies have shown that the best time for an athlete to eat before starting a training session is between 1 and 4 hours before the start of physical activity. Indeed, if the athlete eats too soon before exercise, he risks suffering from gastrointestinal disorders and indigestion, as his body is unable to digest food properly. On the other hand, if he waits too long without eating, his performance could be hampered by a lack of energy.

What are the essential types of food for an athlete?

It is important to take into account the type of food consumed in order to ensure that the athlete has enough fuel to complete his training. A pre-workout meal should consist of:

Complex carbohydrates:

Complex carbohydrates are an essential part of any healthy diet, especially for athletes. Recent studies suggest that athletes generally aim to consume around 45-65% of their total calories as complex carbohydrates per day. This may correspond to approximately 3 to 5 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day.

Factors like type and intensity of exercise, duration of exercise, body composition, and personal nutritional goals all contribute to determining the best amount of complex carbohydrates for a person’s diet. For athletes specifically, it is particularly important to consume enough carbohydrates, as this will provide them with the energy necessary for exercise and recovery.

It is therefore important to include a significant portion of complex carbohydrates in your pre-workout meal. If you need to exercise for more than an hour, you can have a glass of fruit juice, a cup (245 g) of yogurt or an English muffin with jelly.

As for exercises that take more than 90 minutes, this effort requires more carbohydrates before and after training. Have an energy bar, nut mix, or oatmeal pudding on hand.

Lean proteins:

Protein plays a crucial role in aiding performance. They help the body repair tissue, build muscle, synthesize hormones and enzymes, and store energy. Recent studies have determined that athletes should consume at least 1.2 to 2 g of lean protein per kg of body weight each day. This equates to approximately 0.55-0.9g of protein for every pound an athlete weighs.

However, depending on the intensity of their training, some athletes may require a higher protein intake than others in order to achieve optimal performance levels from their physical activity. It is also an opportunity to banish certain misconceptions such as the one that claims that proteins are responsible for muscle growth. Only strength training and physical exercise can modify the muscles. Moreover, an excessive consumption of proteins can lead to:

Increased workload for the kidneys:

The kidneys are responsible for removing waste from the body. Excessive protein consumption can lead to kidney overload, which can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease:

Excessive consumption of animal protein, especially sources high in saturated fat, may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Bone loss:

Excessive protein consumption can lead to bone loss because calcium is excreted in the urine when protein is metabolized. This can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Weight gain :

Excessive protein consumption can lead to weight gain if combined with an increase in overall calorie intake.

Healthy fats:

According to recent scientific studies, athletes should aim for between 20-35% of their daily calories to come from healthy fats. These fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The amount of healthy fats needed per day can vary from athlete to athlete, but generally they need about 0.5-1g of fat per kg of body weight per day. Adequate amounts of fat ensure adequate energy supply and tissue development and repair, and are essential for overall good health.

Always focus on hydration!

Water and liquids are essential to keep the body hydrated and at the right temperature. Clear urine is a good sign that you have fully rehydrated. Here’s how to keep enough fluids in the body:

  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids with every meal, whether you exercise or not.
  • Drink about 2 cups or 480ml of water 2 hours before a workout. It is important to start exercising with enough water in the body.
  • Continue to drink water in small sips during and after exercise, about 1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 240 ml) of liquid every 15 to 20 minutes. Water is the best solution for the first hour. If you switch to a sports drink after the first hour, you will get enough electrolytes.
  • Drink even when you are not thirsty.
  • Offer water to children often during sporting activities. They don’t react to thirst as well as adults.
* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.