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Sports Nutrition

There are many different views on diet. Ssome are excellent and some can be harmful but our advice is based on the scientific facts of physical function. However, when working out a dietary plan it is always useful to understand how much fuel you burn. Individual requirements will vary and these are only guidelines.

Nutritional Goals

  • Mix your diet up, ensure that it is well balanced and supplies the right amount of energy and nutrients
  • Eat plenty of carbohydrates
  • Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables
  • Include proteins
  • Hydrate your body
  • Refuel immediately after exercise

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates currently get a bad press, but one thing you should take into account before your decide to ditch the carbohydrates is that this is the muscles’ main source of fuel!

Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the muscle tissue (stored with water). If your exercise programme requires power, strength, endurance or speed then you will burn carbohydrates.

Estimated carbohydrate needs for athletes based on activity level

These are the recommended levels of carbohydrate intake based on duration of activity and body weight in kg. You should note that these are guidelines only, as intensity of activity is impossible to predict. This can be worked out on an individual level only – please contact us directly for this!

  • 3-5 hours a week: 4–5 grams per kg of bodyweight each day
  • 5-7 hours a week: 5-6 grams per kg bodyweight per day
  • 1-2 hours per day: 6-8 grams per kg bodyweight per day
  • 2+ hours per day: 8-10 grams per kg bodyweight per day

Examples of foods containing 50grams of carbohydrate include:

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 15 dried apricots
  • 800ml isotonic sports drink
  • 3 thick slices bread
  • 500 ml fruit juice
  • 1 large bowl breakfast cereal
  • 200 – 250grams cooked pasta / rice
  • 1 large potato

Refuelling after exercise is most effective within 20 – 30 minutes, the sooner the better to ensure that your muscles recover and replenish

Bananas are ideal and a quick carbohydrate source, both during and after exercise. They also contain potassium salts which are lost during activity.

Hydration

Maintaining adequate hydration is essential for performance. Dehydration affects both physical and mental performance.

It is crucial that the determined, healthy athletes begin training sessions and competitions well hydrated. It is easy to check whether your are hydrated or not – just look at the colour of your urine! If it’s clear then you are fully hydrated, the darker and more yellow in colour you are dehydrated.

If you wait until you are thirsty to drink then it is probable that your body is at least 2 pints dehydrated.

The choice of drink depends on intensity and duration of exercise. Low- to moderate-intensity exercise that lasts for less than an hour, with low sweat loss, then the choice might be water. Moderate- to hard-training sessions which last more than an hour, with greater sweat loss choose isotonic sports drink or make you own. 200ml squash (not low calorie) 800ml water and a large pinch of salt.

Proteins

The role of protein in our diet is to repair muscles and plays and important role in how the body responds to exercise.

Protein seems to be the dieter’s favourite at the moment, but let us squash the myths! Large amounts of protein does not equate to large muscles. Your body only needs and utilises relatively small quantities – strength athletes require higher amounts of protein, these being about 1.2 – 1.7 grams of protein per kg body weight per day. Compare this to an endurance athlete who needs about 1.2 – 1.4 grams per kg body weight per day. The general sedentary population only require 0.80 – 1.0 gram per kg body weight per day.

Diets encouraging protein as a source of energy (i.e cutting carbohydrates and eating high levels of protein) result in a condition called ketosis. Proteins are not a preferred source of energy and our body only uses them as a last resort.

Food Portions Providing 20g* Protein

  • 2 medium slices of beef, lamb or pork
  • 1 small chicken breast
  • Medium fillet of fish
  • 100gram of tuna in brine
  • 1 pint semi skimmed milk
  • 2 match box sizes of cheddar cheese
  • 2 x 200grm pots low fat yoghurt
  • 3 medium sized eggs
  • 1 large can baked beans
  • 100 grams peanuts
  • Quorn mince 165grams

For more information or to identify your individual requirements please contact 01509 218700 or 07973 782 647.