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Sporty food

What a high-performance athlete should not eat

Sports nutrition covers all the cycles of sport: rest, the active phase and the recovery phase. It is true that exercise increases the body’s energy and nutritional needs; a sports diet can vary from 110 kJ/kg/day (26 kcal/kg/day) in a female bodybuilder and 157 kJ/kg/day (38 kcal/kg/day) in a female high-level gymnast to a male triathlete consuming 272 kJ/kg/day (65 kcal/kg/day) and 347 kJ/kg/day (83 kcal/kg/day) in a Tour de France cyclist.

Nutrition is one of the three factors that mark the practice of sport; the other two are the particular genetic factors of the athlete and the type of training performed. The foods included in a sports diet serve three basic purposes: they provide energy, they provide material for strengthening and repairing tissues, and they maintain and regulate metabolism. There is no general diet for athletes, each sport has special demands and specific nutrition.

Diet for adolescent athletes

The best thing about eating to reach your peak performance in sports is that it doesn’t mean you have to follow a special diet or take supplements. It’s just about introducing the right foods in the right amounts into your eating plan to keep you healthy and fit.

Adolescent athletes have different nutritional needs than less active teenagers. Because athletes train much harder, they need more calories for fuel to perform in sports and to keep growing.

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Since teens who play sports need more fuel, it is usually not a good idea for them to go on a diet. Teens who play sports that emphasize having a low body weight, such as wrestling, swimming, dance or artistic gymnastics, may feel pressured to lose weight. But drastically reducing the amount of calories taken in can lead to growth problems and an increased risk of fractures and other types of injuries.

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To understand how sports nutrition works, we must look at its principles. Then you can apply it to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The type of food, how much and when you eat will depend on these aspects:

While hydration should be constant, there are certain guidelines when it comes to food. Here are some recommendations for before, during and after daily training (Bertran, n.d.):

Here you will find 5 easy, practical and delicious recipes. You can prepare them for your everyday meals, and/or for those special dates where you want to surprise everyone with a special dish…

Diet for an athlete breakfast lunch and dinner

Adapting our diet to our sports practice will not only allow us to improve our physical performance, but it will also be, in combination with the practice of physical exercise, a perfect ally to improve our health.

Practicing sports on a continuous basis and following the advice of various experts – such as physiotherapists, physical trainers, podiatrists, etc. – not only guarantees safe practice and reduces the risk of injury, but in the long term, it will also lead to better performance. As with everything in life, practice makes perfect.

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In previous articles we have already talked about the importance of certain tests or studies prior to practicing sports, such as biomechanical and footprint studies or stress tests. The objective of these tests is none other than to guarantee the health of the athlete.

Attention is now focused on the importance of proper nutrition for athletes. Achieving optimal athletic performance does not depend exclusively on using the right equipment, improving running technique or changing certain postural habits. What we eat and how we eat it is vital in order to continue and improve as athletes.

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