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Fuel for Sport: Diet Pattern for Athletes

2017/05/14

To run a machine you need fuel. Our body is also like a machine and it needs fuel to run. Main source of this fuel are the different kinds of food we eat. Your performance at the gym, on the playing fields or even at home and work depends on the food you eat. To maximize your performance eat right kind of food and do some exercise to enhance the energy.

Carbohydrates are the greatest source of energy for physical activity. People, especially sports persons, need more carbohydrates for the supply of extra energy. Breads, grains, cereals, pasta, fruits and vegetable provide high-octane fuel for muscle power. If you exercise heavily and do not supply your body with enough carbohydrates, your body will tire more quickly. An athlete needs 2.7 – 4.5 g carbohydrate for per pound of body weight. Ordinary people will need slightly lower amount of carbohydrate.



Fluid is another important thing. During intense activity, the body loses fluid through sweat and this increases the chance of muscle cramp, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Drink before, after and in between every activity to keep your body hydrated. Make it a point that drinking enough fluid is also a part of your activities. You can drink anything throughout the day – water, sports drink, fruits or vegetable juices, mineral water, but keep on drinking. But avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine because these things actually dehydrate the body.

When you are involved in heavy activity or performing in sports events, have low fat, high carbohydrate meal at least two hours before any such activities. If you have food when you are in work you will not be able to exercise heavily. Take light snacks 45-60 minutes before the actual activity.

After every heavy exercise athletes should reimburse their energy with lots of carbohydrates and fluids. The athletes naturally loose potassium and sodium from their body after these heavy exercises. They should replace them as early as possible. Taking potassium-rich fruits and vegetables such as bananas, orange, cantaloupe and tomatoes helps to overcome it. Sprinkling little amount of salt on your food items to replace sodium may be necessary.

Protein is important to build and repair body tissues and muscles. Athletes do have an increased protein requirement than the people involved in regular activities. This can be met by a well-planned and well-balanced diet.






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