The 2012 Olympics, one of the worlds’ biggest events is ready to kick off tomorrow and is just across the water. With all this hype so close to home; here in Ireland we can only begin to feel inspired by the world’s best athletes. The knock on effect of this should see a surge of enthusiasm and an increase in participation for similar types of sport around the world. If you are planning on ramping up your levels of physical activity, it is imperative that you alter your nutrition to match your body’s demanding needs.
Why is Sports Nutrition so important?
At the most basic level, nutrition is important for athletes because it provides a source of energy required to perform the activity. The food we eat impacts on our strength, training, performance and recovery. Not only is the type of food important for sports nutrition but the times we eat throughout the day also has an impact on our performance levels and our bodies ability to recover after exercising.
Meals eaten before and after exercise are the most important in sports nutrition but you should really be careful with everything that you put into your body. As a general rule of thumb athletes should eat about two hours before exercising and this meal should be high in carbohydrates, low in fat and low to moderate in protein. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy that powers your exercise regime and protein is required to aid muscle growth and repair. After exercising you need to replace the carbohydrates you have lost and you need to ensure proper muscle recovery by including protein in your post training meal.
The proportions of protein and carbohydrates that you require will vary depending on both the intensity and type of sport so to get your individual balance right you should contact a qualified dietitian for professional help with your sports nutrition. Our expert dietitians can help all level athletes to achieve optimal sports nutrition in order to meet their performance goals.