Nutrition for athletes – what and how much food should be eaten?

What is nutrition for athletes and how does it differ from the diet of a usual person? During workouts, an athlete experiences high physical and psycho-emotional loads. Food should be nutritious to compensate for energy expenditures of the body, as well as to achieve better athletic performances (increase in strength and muscle endurance, lean muscle mass building).

Nutrition for athletes should be absolutely healthy, because any harmful food will affect the body condition and invariably worsen athletic performances. It is quite simple to cook sports nutrition at home (in particular, a protein cocktail). However, about this further.

Nutrients can be conditionally divided into the following groups: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, microelements. A separate component is water. Its sufficient amount is necessary for the body to maintain health and proper functioning like nutritious food.

If you decide to eat properly, you should also review ways of cooking. Refuse to fry products and cook semi-finished products. Use boiling, braising and baking.

In a serious attitude to making up a menu, a good nutrition for athletes can be provided at the expense of usual meal at home. Undoubtedly, this will take a little more time and efforts than just buying several cans of sports nutrition. However, it should be noted that even famous bodybuilders say that it is preferable to use natural products in everyday life, rather than sports nutrition.

How many proteins, fats and carbs are needed when playing sports?

Before talking about what foods should be used to provide adequate nutrition during sports, it is necessary to figure out how much a person should eat in order to achieve certain results. What should be the daily calorie intake and what proportion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in percent?

  1. Determine the daily calorie intake

There are many formulas for calculating daily energy expenditures. These formulas take into account such parameters as your weight, age, gender and lifestyle. There are a huge number of formulas and methods of calculation and they all give only approximate results. Therefore, do not bother yourself with “engineering” calculations; it is enough to learn a simple rule.

Caloric value of the basic metabolism (energy, which is required only for lying and breathing):

For women: 0.9 * weight (kg) * 24 = kcal / day

For men: 1 * weight (kg) * 24 = kcal / day

Now multiply the resulting number by the coefficient of physical activity (from 1 to 2). At the average load level (several workouts per week); this coefficient is 1.4.

The first number that you should write down is the number of calories that your body consumes per day. Let us say it is 2000 calories.

  1. Do you want to lose or gain weight?

What goal should you achieve – to lose weight or on the contrary – to gain muscle mass? If you want to get a beautiful and slim figure by getting rid of fat deposits and building muscle mass, first, you have to lose weight, and then build muscle mass. In case of weight loss, reduce your daily intake by 500 calories. In the case of weight gain, on the contrary – increase by 500 calories. When losing weight, take into account one detail. No matter what results of the calculations you have, a daily calorie intake should make no less than 1,400 kcal. This is the minimum norm.

  1. Ratio of carbs, proteins and fats

The third step is to determine what percentage of calories the main nutrients in the diet should make.

This ratio is individual for each situation, but people engaged in fitness at the average have the following need for:

For women:

  • proteins – 25%;
  • carbohydrates – 50%;
  • fats – 25%.

For men:

  • proteins – 25%;
  • carbohydrates – 60%;
  • fats – 15%.

Note that this is a calorie ratio. Thus, if you are a woman and your daily calorie rate is 2000, then proteins should make 500 calories, carbohydrates – 1100 calories, and fats – about 400. This is about 100 g of protein, 300 g of carbohydrates and 50 g of fats. This amount of fats in its pure form is only 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. However, if you eat meat, fish, nuts, then you also get fats from these foods.

So, now you know how much and what nutrients should be consumed.