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Sport nutrition requirements for athletes

                     Sport nutrition requirements              Fluids               Carbohydrates              Vitamins and minerals              Creatine
Sport nutrition needs
How do athletic nutritional requirements diffe r from a non-athletes?

The simple answer is yes.... and no. Both types of individuals have the same basic nutrient requirements, both need minerals, vitamins and over 40 other nutrients for adequate calorie and energy replenishment. Where sports and exercise nutrition differs is in the quantities and the timing of the nutrient and food intake for balanced eating.

Because of the level of physical effort and intensity of certain sports, weight training and fitness programs, these sport or activity require higher levels of energy and fluids. Eating a variety of foods in the diet ensures that the required level of carbohydrates, minerals vitamins and protein are consumed to sustain the activity throughout its sporting period. Guidelines would dictate that the recommended nutritional daily intake be no more than 60% of calories come from carbs, 30% from fat and 15% from protein.

The adequate amount of calories will strongly differ from athlete to athlete. In order to get the right level of sport and exercise nutrition and calories the best way is to monitor the variance to your ideal competitive weight. You must keep within the parameters of your competitive weight range. If you drop too much weight and  you fat ration is too low, your calorie intake is insufficient. If on the other hand your sport and exercise nutrition exceeds your calorie requirements you will gain fat and weight. Monitoring your body fat ration and your body mass index will help regulate your sports and exercise nutrition balance.

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Fluids and carbohydrates in sports nutrition
What is the best source of fluid regeneration?
The time length of the exercise or sport determines the requirement of fluid and water replenishment. Prolonged physical effort that induces substantial sweating an exceeds 45 minutes to 90 minutes will require a greater amount of fluid intake. Sports such as squash, continuous explosive sports will have higher fluid requirements the the sports diet. Football, soccer, tennis or endurance running in excess of 90 minutes will have similar fluid requirements. It is essential to have a regular intake of fluid  before during and after the effort to allow the body to absorb the fluids. Post exercise fluid replenishment is essential as well as toping up calories to avoid weight loss. Sweat is 99% water and 1% electrolytes so for extensive workouts and long sporting sessions sport drinks can be useful in bringing fast carbohydrates. sports drink have varying content of carbs and you must experiment with various drinks to measure the efficiency of each one. Because sport drinks contain large quantities of cards this can effect fluid absorption by the body and could dehydrate instead of hydrate.
Some sports drinks also include electrolytes which are nutrients t that mange and effect the fluid balance in the body and are crucial to the muscle function. If you have a balance diet the sports and exercise nutrition will be largely sufficient to replenish your electrolyte requirements such as potassium and you will not need an additional nutrient and electrolyte dietary source such as sport drinks. Again, in the case of extensive and prolonged sport and physical activity sport drinks are beneficial.

Post Workout Drinks - Celebrity bloopers here
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What are the carbohydrate needs in sport and exercise nutrition?

Muscles require an energy source that comes from daily diet and the nutrition values it has. Most of the calories and energy requirements will be provided by a combination of fat and carbohydrates. Depending on the type of sport or physical activity your energy consumption and energy can differ. For example, explosive sport such as many track and field sports like javelin throw, short distance sprints races will essentially  use carb energy. More endurance related sports such as cycling, jogging, running a marathon hiking  will tap into fat as the primary source of energy and calorie burn to achieve peak performance.

So carbohydrates are a bodies fuel, oddly its the one nutrient that many diets cut out, Energy bars are a source of immediate carbs. Energy bars are used mostly during or just after the sport as energy bars are designed for immediate calorie release and easy body absorption. That is because carbs need to be used by the body in order to maintain a balance between daily calorie burn rate and the level of calorie intake. Carbs come from breads and cereals vegetables and fruits and grains dairy products and sugars. They body through metabolism will degrade the carbohydrates into sugars or glucose and store it for energy. So burn it don't store it. This in the muscle fuel you need for sports and exercise in order to achieve peak performance.

For endurance sports that require a prolonged physical effort, different from explosive short burst of sport activities, athletes will  do what is called carbohydrate loading. Carb loading is essentially useful for endurance sports. It meant that the sports and exercise diets is heavily loaded in carbs, thus carb loading or carbohydrate loading. 10g of food will be consumed in sport diet for every 2 pounds of body weight. This is done for up to 7 days prior the sports event or competition. This is a particular sports diet that top level athlete know how to mange in their diets and sports nutrition intake. When wanting to build muscle mass, some additional protein can be added to the diet. In general it is not required to increase in the sports and exercise nutrient levels of protein as modern diets generally have sufficient protein levels so eating any more meat will not help.. It is not true that protein jamming is essential in muscle building. An adequate level of energy and calories is what the muscles require to build muscle mass so the sports and exercise or weight training diets does not need substantial modification.

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Vitamins and minerals in sports and exercise nutrition
Do you need additional minerals and vitamins?

If your sports and exercise nutrition and diet are well balanced you should not need to take any additional vitamin supplements. You absolutely need to include a large variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet that will not only bring in the required carbohydrates but the fruit sugars and glucose as well as a variety of vitamins minerals and antioxidants.

It is often believed that  iron supplements need to be taken.  Since blood or haemoglobin contains iron in the red blood cells and because red blood cells are the express trains of oxygen in the body it is believed that additional iron is needed. Iron supplements are beneficial only in the case of iron deficiency. Since you sports diet will contain 15% protein and 30% fat, the level of meat and iron rich vegetables will be largely sufficient in the sports nutrition diet. None the less if signs of tiring irritability and excessive fatigue do appear than these could be the sign of an iron efficiency. But link with all supplements it is important to consul a doctor for advice or a sports physician.

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Should you take Creatine?
How does Creatine work?
Creatine was discovered in 1832 by a Frenchman called Michel Eugene Chevreul who discovered Creatine as a component of skeletal muscle that supplies energy to muscle cells. This naturally occurring nitrogenous organic acid occurs in many vertebrates an serves as an energy shuttle in muscle cells and maintains the energy levels high as well as protects the cells from damage.
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Creatine as a sports nutrition supplement?

It is only since the 1992 Olympics that Creatine has come to the public eye when used in the 100m sprint by Lindford Christie. Today it is commercialized under various names including Phophagen or Cell-tech

Creatine has undergone many studies, but mostly only short term studies so the effects on the human body and muscles in the long term are unknown. It is the only supplement that combined in formula with carbohydrates has shown muscular development over Creatine alone. As much as Creatine formulas have shown muscle mass gain, it is only beneficial in sports requiring large muscle mass such as bodybuilding and weightlifting and other explosive sports.

Side effects include water retention in the muscle and overall body mass gain on top of muscle growth. It is hard to balance and control the effects so other than extreme athletes it is not necessary nor recommended to take high doses of such Creatine based formulas until extensive long term research is done. Nor can we find many physicians and fitness trainer that  positively advise the use of Creatine formal supplements.

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