Nutrition may be the most overlooked and underrated area directly related to improving human performance.Nutrition experts have recognized that the correct diet is vital in improving athletic performance.The successful athlete meets the demands of an intense strength and conditioning routine with proper nutrition.Optimum nutrition is achieved by consuming a balanced diet consisting of very high carbohydrates, moderate proteins, low fats and a very high water consumption.The carbohydrates ensure fuel for high energy levels.The protein ensures a positive nitrogen balance needed to repair existing muscle tissues and support increases in new lean muscle tissue.Dietary fat intake must be kept to a minimum to utilize existing body fat stores, improving body composition and performance.The high water intake will protect the kidneys and maintain the peak hydration level at all times.This diet will ensure high energy levels, support the increase of lean muscle mass, while maintaining or reducing excess, performance-hindering body fat.
This balanced diet provides the nutrients and energy for athletic competition.It not only maximizes benefits associated with your conditioning program, but also increases energy levels, performance, muscle growth and mental awareness while decreasing recovery times and body fat.It ensures proper growth of muscle, bone and supportive tissue (also important in the injury process).Often, the lack of progress or “staleness” during training can be related to a poor nutritional intake, not the training program.Whether or not you want to increase, decrease or maintain a desired weight level, nutrition becomes a vital component in maximizing you genetic potential.
The basic dietary guidelines are the same whether you are an athlete or a non-athlete.Athletes have the needed increased caloric intake to support the energy during training and competition.The energy needs depends on the athletes basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the amount of energy required to support bodily functions at rest plus the level of physical activity.One’s BMR varies with age, sex and body weight.The level of activity influenced by the intensity, duration, frequency and type of activity performed. The basic nutrients necessary satisfy these differences in energy expenditure are relative to the amount and proportion of calories derived from carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
65-70% CHO, 15-20%PRO, 10-20% FAT
4-6 Smaller Meals, Approx. 3 hrs between
The optimal balanced diet is achieved by changing your current eating habits.
As previously mentioned nutrional adequate diet consists of 65-70 percent carbohydrates, 15-20 percent protein and 10-20 percent fat.The easiest way to be assured of obtaining all the six major nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water) and calories, in the proper proportions, is to eat a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid:
Try to attain these “Pyramid Proportions” in every meal.This allows for a high percentage of total calories intake to be from complex carbohydrates, moderate protein and minimal fats and sweets.Meals of “Pyramid Proportions” must be eaten throughout the day even when losing weight.Skipping meals to lose weight is counterproductive and will not replace nor allow for the energy requirements necessary for progress in the athletes interval training and athletic competition.This meal skipping triggers the body to slow down the basal metabolic rate, conserves fat, uses up limited amount of carbohydrates energy stores, and even metabolizes muscle for energy.An evenly distributed caloric intake through the day keeps the body’s ability to burn calories elevated and carbohydrates stores full.An evenly distributed caloric intake of 4-6 meals in “Pyramid Proportions” will elevate the body’s ability to burn energy.
Each of the five major food groups (grain products, fruit, vegetables, dairy products and meat poultry, fish, beans and eggs) supplies the body with six nutrients that are essential for the body to function:carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.These nutrients work together to supply energy, build and maintain body core and regulate body processes.The following section will discuss the role of these nutrients in training.
65-70% of Total Caloric intake
4 Kcal/gram (half the Kcal of Fat)
Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source for the working muscle.Approximately 65-70% of the total calories should consist of carbohydrates.Basically, there are two types of carbohydrates: 1) simple carbohydrate and 2) complex carbohydrates.Simple carbohydrates must be monitored carefully; although they supply energy they contain no nutrients.Simple carbohydrates include such foods as honey, syrup, jams, jellies, candies, and many soft drinks.
Only 10 percent of the total calories consumed as carbohydrates (or 6-7 % of the caloric intake) should be of the simple variety compared with a usual U.S. intake of 23 percent. The remaining consumption of carbohydrates should be complex.These foods include whole-wheat grain products, breads, cereals, pasta, potatoes, rice, vegetables and whole fruits.
Glycogen is the body’s storage of carbohydrates.The greater the muscle supply of glycogen, the greater the athletes endurance.Training enhances this ability to store glycogen as well as enhances use of the fatty acids spare stored glycogen.A diet high in carbohydrates not only allows for increased glycogen levels, but also has protein-sparing effect.This is extremely important when training for maximum size, strength and endurance.Although protein is important for repairing and building tissue during growth and development process muscle glycogen that allows for intense weight training to take place, ultimately stimulating increases in muscle size and strength.
Athletes should eat a high carbohydrate diet at all times.A technique called “carbohydrate loading” may be used for the exercise event that lasts 90-120 minutes.Carbohydrate loading will super saturate the muscles with glycogen, can also make the muscles feel “heavy” due to the extra water that is stored along with the glycogen (3 grams of water is stored with every gram of glycogen).In reality, a balanced diet high in carbohydrates combined with a recommended intakes of protein and fat will serve to enhance performance in prolonged and intense athletic events without the complications of true “carbohydrate loading” techniques.
Carbohydrates feeding after exercise is a very important in enhancing the recovery process by replenishing glycogen stores.Recent studies show resynthesis is much more rapid during the first hour after exercise:the quicker the better.The athlete should be encouraged to drink or eat some form of carbohydrate as quickly as possible after each training session, such as a: high carbohydrate drink, sweet tea or a glycogen recovery drink.This should be followed by a meal of “Pyramid Proportions”.
15-20% of Total Caloric Intake
Protein has received considerable attention in the realm of athletics as being beneficial for optimal muscle growth.Protein is essential building new tissue during growth and development, and for replacing old cells, which are constantly being broken down.The problem is that it has been so ”overemphasized” that most athletes eat more than enough, often at the expense of other nutrients that are equally important.
An athlete needs approximately 1.5-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily.This amount would satisfy 15-20 percent of total calories in a nutritionally balanced diet.In addition, many athletes consume large quantities of free form amino acids (protein building blocks).Often amino acids are touted as replacements for anabolic steroids with the claim that they can stimulate or augment growth hormones.The benefit of consuming these amino acids remains untested and unknown at this time.
There are a number of hazards, best quality control of amino acids, associated with high levels of dietary protein.Excess protein above the requirements is used, excreted out of the system, or stored as fat.The breakdown of excess dietary protein produces increased body heat and urinary water loss to remove these excess waste products.This causes severe water imbalance and can promote muscle cramping.This is often magnified during intense training or competition when fluid needs are critical.To help alleviate this problem the athlete should consume 3-6 ounces of protein at a time and wait 2.5 and 3.5 hours between meals.If this process is not followed, waste by-products are formed, requiring elimination through the kidneys.
It is important for the athlete to monitor not only the quantity of protein, but quality of protein as well.The athlete should minimize consumption of high fat proteins like fatty red meat, whole milk dairy products, egg yolks, and nuts.Choose lean meats, low nonfat dairy products, egg whites, poultry, fish, dried peas, and beans.The athlete should eat fish or poultry that is grilled, baked and broiled.
10-20% of Total Intake
9Kcal/gram (2.25 times more cal than CHO/PROT)
Understanding the role of fat in the diet, it’s beneficial and harmful effects on your body, is of great importance to the athlete.Fat protects the bodies vital organs form temperature extremes, mechanical shock, provides a reserve fuel supply for use whenever the carbohydrate stores have been depleted, delays gastric emptying, and is necessary for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins into the bloodstream.The major problem is that athletes can simply consume too much of it.
The average American diet is 40-50% fat.In a 3000 calorie diet this would equate to 150-167 grams of fat.The body only needs 15-25 grams of fat a day to carry out the normal role of fat in the body; if the body needs more fat it is simply pulled out of the body fat stores.This process helps reduce the amount of performance hindering body fat levels.Once fat cells in the adipose tissue are full, new fat cells are generated.This is a one-way process, the new fat cells are permanent fixtures; when they fill up, even more new fat cells will be generated.The newest research shows that dietary fat is easily converted to body fat; so high fat diets make more fat bodies.
A diet high in fat may lead to chronic exhaustion, irritability, restlessness, and an increase in percentage of body fat.A diet high in fat, coupled with a low intake of carbohydrates, slows the process of energy storage in the muscles thus providing less fuel for high intensity, physical activity.A careful evaluation of the daily intake of fat consumes will lay the foundation for a healthy, balanced diet.
The major emphasis in athletics is to reduce your percentage of body fat and increase lean muscle mass.You can accomplish this by reducing the overall fat content in your diet to approximately 10-20% of the total calories consumed.Reducing the dietary fat content is as simple as replacing high fat products with fat free products.Keep in mind that the calories from fat may increase when conversion of any excess protein intake, as well as from intakes of butter, mayonnaise, oils and fried food.
No caloric value
80-100+ ozs per day
The ability of an athlete to rid the body of excess heat depends on the ability to produce and evaporate sweat from the surface on the skin.Water regulates body temperature, helps to carry nutrients and oxygen to working muscles and is necessary for the excretion of wasteful by-products during the metabolic process.Water intake should be as high as possible; if in excess, it will simply be sweated or excreted out.Intake of water is a major concern for athletes.If water loss is not replenished during intense exercise the body can become dehydrated.Dehydration can lead to:
1. Heat cramps5. Loss of appetite9. Injury due to fatigue
2. Exhaustion6. Fatigue10. Deterioration in performance
3. Nausea7. Irritability11. Increased body performance
4. Heat stroke8. Increased resting HR12. Possible death
Dehydration is counterproductive to enhanced athletic performance.In order to keep from becoming dehydrated it is important to drink plenty of fluids (ideally water) before, during and after intense periods of exercise.Because tension, anxiety, and large sweat loss, thirst is usually not a good indicator of dehydration.Athletes should be encouraged to weight themselves before and after training to determine the amount of fluid that needs to be replaced.If more than two pounds, then more fluids should be consumed before and during the event.Therefore it may be necessary to force hydration and drink fluids beyond the normal thirst drive.
The best rehydration fluid is cold water, sports drinks ranging from 5-8% glucose are also good.To ensure optimum hydration levels and gastric emptying, it is recommended that 3-4 cups be drunk prior to competition or training followed by a cup every fifteen minutes.This will not fully replace the fluids lost during the event, but it prevents dehydration.After the event, the athlete should continue to drink at frequent intervals until the weight has been regained or the urine is pale, straw color.Some forced drinking of fluid is essential.It is important the athlete be aware of fluid needs.Prevent dehydration, whenever possible, and avoid intentional weight loss through the use of diuretics, “sweat” suits, or forced spitting.
Gaining and losing weight
Athletes are often asked to gain or lose weight to maximize performance or meet certain sports requirements.Many times an athlete will eat uncontrollably to gain weight or use drastic measures to lose weight.The following principles of weight control will help you to achieve your desired body composition goal without serious health implications.
The condition of being underweight or overweight has a variety of sources, most of which are vague in terms describing ones ideal weight.Well developed athletes may be diagnosed as overweight, without being overweight.An athlete considered to be ideal in weight may actually carry too much fat.By assessing the percentage an individual’s body weight as fat, it is possible to determine an “ideal” body weight.Standardized methods calculate total percentage of fat include the measurement of subcutaneous tissue using skinfold calipers or hydrostatic weighing.
The average (adult) male will carry approximately 12-16% of his weight as body fat, while average (adult) women will carry approximately 18-22% body fat.A male is obese when he approaches 25% body fat; a female is obese at 30% body fat.Excess weight in the form of body fat is not desirable.During intense exercise or competition, movement is less efficient due to extra fat being transported by the athlete.The minimum amount of essential body fat will vary between 4 percent in men and 12 percent in women.However, extremely low levels of body fat, if not monitored carefully, can impair physical performance, lower resistance to disease and inhibit the healing process if injured.Each sport and position has different body compositions goals.
If you want to lose body weight, you must first establish a reasonable goal of how much weight can be lost as and not lean body mass.Once you body composition is determined, allow a realistic period of time to lose the weight.Weight loss of not more than 1-2 pounds per week is generally recommended.Athletes who have low levels of body fat must be careful if weight loss is required.Drastic measures to lose weight, such as starvation or dehydration, when body fat is already low, will result in some reduction of lean muscle mass.This can adversely affect performance, leaving the athlete at a disadvantage in competition.
For activities where an increase in weight is desirable, establish your body composition goal and again allow realistic period of time to gain weight.Next, you must follow sound nutritional habits that meet the diet guidelines.Once this base is accomplished and further weight gain is desired, the addition of liquid supplements such as a Nutritional beverage and/or High Carbohydrate Drink may be used to elevate good calories to the desired level.No more than one to two pounds should be added per week.A vigorous exercise routine (combined weight training and cardiovascular conditioning) should accompany a balanced diet so that the weight that is gained is lean muscle mass rather than fat mass.
FOOD FAD AND FALLACIES
The amount of information concerning food supplements that enhance physical work capacity, promote super energy, and cause superior muscle growth is overwhelming, misleading, and potentially harmful.There is NO scientific evidence supporting claims of increased performance through consumption of items such chromium, ginseng, bee pollen, honey or wheat germ oil, nor amino acids.Athletes are better advised to spend time and money on educating themselves about individual nutritional requirements.
SUMMARY OF DIETARY GUIDELINES
1.Eat daily servings from the five main food groups.
2.Eat 4-6 smaller meals a day (rather than 2-3 large meals)
a.When weight gain is desired, meals should be slightly larger, thus increasing total caloric intake.
b.When weight loss is desired, meals should be slightly smaller, thus decreasing total caloric intake.
1.Helps maintain muscle tissue
2.Promotes body fat reduction
3.Reduces sluggishness and the onset of fatigue
3.Space meals 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours apart
4. Achieve the ideal caloric distribution.
65-70% Carbohydrates, 15-20% Protein, 10-20% fat
5.Increase your intake of complex carbohydrates
a.These food are:
5.Waffles11. Vegetables & Vegetable juice
6.French toast12.Fruits& Fruit juice
1.Good source of carbohydrates
2.High in vitamins and minerals
3.High water content
1.Increased energy stores
2.Protein-sparing effect for growth and repair
6. Keep refined sugar intake to a minimum
a.Limit or omit sweets, soda, candy, cakes, pastries, etc.
1.These food are:
-Low in vitamins and mineral content.
-Often high in fat
-Fruits- diet soda
-Vegetables- low sugar foods
-Unsweetened juices- low fat foods
7.Keep protein servings to moderate size (3-6 oz)
8.Increase water intake to 10-12 glasses a day (8 oz)
a.Eliminate the effects of dehydration
1.Fatigue4.Increased resting heart rate
2.Irritability5.Deterioration in performance
3.Loss of appetite6.Increase in body temperature
9.When shopping check labels
a.Calculate % of Carbohydrates, protein, and fat
1.Carbohydrates = # grams CHO x 4 kcal
2.Protein = # grams PROT x 4 kcal
3.Fat = # grams FAT x 9 kcal
4.Percentage from:CHO = (# CHO cal / total # calories)
PROT = (# PRO cal / Total # calories)
FAT= (# FAT cal / Total # calories)
10. Limit fat intake to 10-20% of total caloric intake
a.Cut down on these high fat foods:
1.Red meats (steak, hamburger, hot dog, lunch meat, etc)
2.Pork products (bacon and sausage)
3.Whole milk, ice cream, cream and cream sauce
4.Cheese and Cheese sauce
5.Butter and margarine
6.Mayonnaise and miracle whip
7.Oils of all kinds (used in cooking or salads)
9.French fries, hash browns, and potato chips
10. Pan fried or deep fried foods
11. Candy, cakes and cookies
12. Egg yolks
13. Pies and pastries
14. Olives and avocados
15. Nuts and peanut butter
b.A diet high in fat can lead to:
4.Increased body fat
5.Decreased muscle tissue
SUGGESTIONS FOR LOWER FAT INTAKE
1.Buy lean cuts of red meats (flank steak, venison, lean hamburger or loin named cuts)
2.Trim all excess fat from meat
3.For casseroles, spaghetti, soups, and tacos: brown, drain and rinse hamburger or ground turkey in hot water
4.Keep servings to moderate size (3-6 oz)
5.Only consume red meat once or twice a week
6.For lunch meats: use turkey, chicken, tuna (water packed) and 98% fat free ham
7.Don’t fry meats: bake, broil, boil, poach, steam or barbecue.
Chicken and fish
1.Remove skin from chicken before cooking
2.Use white meat (breast) instead of dark meat (legs and thighs)
3.Don’t fry poultry and fish: bake, broil, boil, steam and barbecue
1.Use nonfat (skim) milk instead of whole, 2% or 1%
2.Use fat-free cheese instead of regular cheese
3.Use fat-free dairy dessert or fat-free yogurt instead of ice cream or ice milk
4.Use sprinkle or spray on butter substitutes instead of butter.
5.Use nonfat yogurt instead of regular yogurt
6.Use nonfat imitation sour cream instead of regular sour cream.
7.Use egg whites and nonfat egg substitutes instead of egg yolks
8. Substitute nonfat (skim) milk for cream recipes.
9.Avoid products with cream:creamed soups, white sauces for pasta and vegetables, and gravy
10. Use nonfat cottage cheese or dry curd instead of regular cottage cheese.
Condiments, Fats and Oils
1.Avoid the use of oils and products packed oil.
2.Use fat-free mayonnaise and miracle whip instead of regular or light mayo
3.Use fat free salad dressing instead of regular or low fat salad dressings.
4.For stir frying or sautéing, use water, or chicken or beef broth instead of oil.
1.Avoid breakfast meats (sausage, bacon, ham).
2.Avoid egg yolks; for scrambled eggs or omelets, order Egg beaters or one egg and four egg whites, stay with vegetables choices in your omelets, go light on the cheese.
3.Better choices are pancakes, waffles, or French toast-order these with no butter.
4.Hot or cold cereal are excellent choices
5.Wheat toast (no butter) with jam or jelly is a good choice.
6.Bran or English muffins and bagels are also healthy choices.
7.Fruit plate with toast or muffins is also very good.
Lunch & Dinner
Steak, chicken and seafood
1.Choose the grilled or baked chicken (no skin), fish (no butter) or shellfish (no butter)
2.Have a baked potato instead of fries (no butter or sour cream; use non fat salad dressing)
3.Order vegetables without butter or sauces.
4.Have salad (see salad bar)
5.Choose broth-based soups instead of cream soups.
6.Indulge in bread, but hold butter or margarine.
1.Pasta is a good choice; stay with meatless red sauce or red clam sauce, and avoid white sauce.
2.Avoid entrees with cheese on or in them.
3.Pizza is okay; order thick crust, extra sauce, light on the cheese (about half the regular amount).Acceptable toppings: Canadian bacon, shrimp, any vegetables and pineapples.
4.Order bread with no butter.
1.Chicken fajitas are a good choice; just don’t add guacamole and sour cream, stay with the salsa.
2.Any grilled chicken or fish entrée, served with steamed tortillas.
3.Stay away from cream sauces and lots of cheese.
4.Do not order deep fried entrees and appetizers.
5.Chicken taco salads are good with non-fat dressing (do not eat the shell)
1.Stay with stir fried entrees (chicken, seafood, and vegetables); ask for your portions to be prepared without MSG and with as little oil as possible.
2.Avoid entrees with nuts in them or ask for them to be removed.
3.Avoid ordering deep fried entrees and appetizers (i.e. Eggrolls, General Tso’s)
4.Order steamed rice instead of fried rice.
1.Use non-fat dressing; bring your own if you have a favorite or use lemon juice or vinegar.
2.Avoid fatty lunch meats; cheese, olives, eggs, sunflower seeds, potato salad, and other prepared salads
3.Bring sprinkle on butter substitute for potatoes and vegetables.
4.Bring your own non-fat ranch salad dressing for salad and baked potatoes.
1.Order grilled chicken sandwiches instead of hamburgers (hold the mayo and butter); barbecue sauce is okay
2.Stay away from breaded and deep fried chicken, fish or steak.
3.Sliced chicken or turkey sandwiches are good choices (no mayo or butter); barbecue sauce is okay
4.Many fast food teriyaki restaurants serve great marinated chicken and rice, chicken curry and rice, and baked chicken (no skin) and rice, and some serve chicken, pineapple, and vegetables kabobs and rice.All are great choices.
Guidelines for reducing body fat
1.KEEP DIETARY FAT INTAKE TO A MINIMUM (10-20%):
Newer research shows that dietary fat is easily converted to body fat, so high fat diets make high fat bodies.If body fat reduction is the desired result, do not replace body fat burned during exercise dietary fat; this defeats the purpose.A nutritionally adequate diet for reduction of body fat consists of 10-15% protein, 10-20% fat and 65-75% carbohydrates.
2.CALORIC INTAKE SHOULD BE LESS THAN CALORIC EXPENDITURE:
Caloric expenditure should be estimated for each individual.Factors that affect caloric expenditure are: sex, age weight, body composition, and activity level.
3. INCREASE AEROBIC EXERCISE (30-60 min. 5-6 times/week)
Aerobic (steady-state) exercise that increases heart rate to 65-70% of maximum heart rate (220-age = Max HR) and maintains that level for 30-60 minutes is the most effective form of exercise for body fat reduction.The body will burn an additional 16% fat if the aerobic exercise completed before breakfast due to the fasted state of the body.Aerobic exercise activities:jogging, swimming, stationary bikes, walking, versa climber, etc.
4. INCLUDE RESISTANCE TRAINING 3 TIMES/WEEK (30-60 min):
In order to help maintain lean body mass (muscle) while trying to reduce body fat, a resistance training program is a must.It will not only maintain or increase you lean body mass, but will also produce increases in strength, endurance, ligament and bone strength, flexibility, and metabolism.It is very possible during a body fat reduction program that lean body mass increases will offset the weight loss in fact so that body weight may remain stable.That is why the scale is not the best indicator of success for a body fat reduction program-the body fat percentage is a much better indicator
5. EAT 4-6 SMALL MEAL, RATHER THAN 1-2 LARGE ONES:
Total calories are not the whole picture.Calories should be evenly distributed throughout the day to maintain energy levels and aid digestion.At the minimum, consume 3 small meals per day.Try to avoid skipping breakfast or having a huge meal in the evening.
6. INCREASE WATER INTAKE TO 8-10 GLASSES A DAY:
Water is important for all bodily functions, and you thirst mechanism is not very reliable.By the time your thirst mechanism tells you you’re thirsty you are already partially dehydrated and performance will be compromised.An athlete that weighs 200 lbs should consume 100 oz of water.So drink lots of water, and try to consume the majority of it before 6PM for obvious reasons.