Friday, October 14, 2005

Eating Healthy for Athletes

For athletes, diet is of the utmost importance. Whetheryou're a sportsman or a sportswoman, eating healthilyis the key to doing well in your training. Moreover, thereis scientific evidence that suggests people who are justgetting into shape after a period of relative inactivityrequire more of the essential nutrients and elements,like protein, than other people, including serious athletes.So what is good nutrition for a sporty lifestyle? If youare exercising you are going to use more calories, sosomeone who is not overweight should be eating more thanthey do when not keeping fit. A rough guide is that youneed eight and a half Calories per kilogram of weight perhour. So if you weigh in at 220 pounds (100 kilograms)you would use 850 Calories during an hour of exercise.When you begin to train regularly, don't cut back your diet,which could compromise your health. If you do need to loseweight by eating less, talk to your doctor before makingany significant dietary changes. Keep in mind that it'snever safe to lose more than two or three pounds per week.The most essential aspect of proper nutrition for athletesis maintaining a balanced diet. The same goes for thegeneral public, too, of course!That means you should be taking in most of your caloriesfrom carbohydrates, which include vegetables, grains,oats, wheat, rice, bread, pasta, etc. The exact numberthat you should aim for is 57% of your diet.Fats should comprise 30% of your intake. I don't meanfats like candy bars--I mean good, unsaturated fats likeolive oil, fats from fish, fats from avocadoes, and soon. Saturated fats, like butter and shortening, should beavoided in any healthy diet.The rest of your diet, 13%, should be comprised of protein.This means fish, poultry, lean red meat, and so on. You canalso get protein from nuts.Proper nutrition means avoiding or consuming only smallportions of fried food, cookies, alcohol, candy bars, andthat kind of junk food. Instead, eat plenty of fresh, rawvegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meats.Any athlete following these guidelines and making sure theyare eating sufficient food, should not find themselvesshort of any of the essential vitamins and minerals, andprobably will not need supplements.There are, however, a huge number of supplementscurrently available. Most of them have not beenscientifically proven to work. Still, some athletes--suchas marathon runners and others in endurance sports--may require iron supplements. This tends to be the casewith women more so than men, but you can get tested ifyou suspect you need more iron.A good nutritionist is the first person to see if you thinkyour diet may not be providing everything you need.Sportsmen who are traveling may not be able to adhere totheir normal diet and might look to supplements while onthe road.Finally, a note on sports drinks and sports bars. Thesecommon items are very popular, in part because they'reso jam-packed with nutrients and are so convenient. Butbe careful: they're full of calories. Also, be sure to giveyourself a few hours between eating and working out, soyou have a chance to digest properly and let your bodyabsorb the essential nutrients.Nutritionist Ann Sertanze provides expert help throughRHS">Nutrition, aspecialist website offering nutritional advice for peopleof all ages. Pay Ann a visit at


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Don Harris Jr. said...

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