The body needs to operate at peak efficiency so the sports person can perform to their best ability. With the difference between winning and losing sometimes being a fraction of a second, nutrition could be the deciding factor. Here we show you the extra nutrients needed and the amounts you should have.
Sports nutrition summary
The nutrients needed are similar to the healthy eater, they both need balanced quantities of all key nutrients. The sports person just needs them in higher amounts:
Calories- The higher intake should be spread throughout the key nutrients. But in slightly different levels than the non-active person.
Carbohydrate - Primary source of energy and part of a loading phase during some sports, this has the highest increase.
Protein - The building blocks of muscle and particularly needed during a hard or peak phase for repairing and building muscle.
Fats- Still required in slightly increased amounts due to fat soluble vitamins and their importance for the athlete.
Water - Even a slight dehydration can have a negative impact on performance.
Sodium - Secreted in sweat, a deficiency can affect concentration as well as performance.
Vitamins & minerals - The extra calorie intake will supply most of the extra quantities needed however certain vitamins have evidence to show they can have a positive impact on performance in larger doses.
For a healthy eater the proportion of calories from each key nutrient should be as follows:
60% Carbohydrate (each gram has 4 calories)
30% Fats (each gram has 9 calories)
10% Protein (each gram has 4 calories)
In sports nutrition a slightly higher percentage of protein and a lower percentage of fats would be favorable. The sports person wants to carry no excess fats.