Sport nutrition, as its name suggests, is the nutrition required for athletes to enhance their sports performance. Anything can affect an athlete’s performance, and there are a few major factors – Timing of major competitions, diet, and genetics. Genetics will not be touched on here as it is beyond our control.
An athlete’s diet is different from the typical recommendations:

1. Higher calories (most sports)

    • Daily energy intake of athletes is substantially elevated from sedentary individuals as they need sufficient energy to allow them to optimize their performance during training and recover quickly.
    • However, the energy intakes of athletes are dependent on their body size and training/performance requirements. For example, an athlete in figure skating will consume significantly less calories than a rugby player.
    • Energy intake can fall short of energy expenditure in athletes competing in sports with aesthetic or weight-class considerations (i.e. Judo or bodybuilding), so it is important to monitor their caloric intake.

2. Focuses more on different macronutrients

    • Protein intake more than carbs & fats for faster recovery

3. Timing of intake

    • High fibre intake before/during prolonged endurance exercise may reduce gastric emptying, increase gastrointestinal problems and impair performance.
    • Sodium requirement increases substantially especially competing in hot conditions
    • Ingestion of sugar during exercise/recovery from exercise benefits athlete.

So… what kinds of macronutrients should athlete intake and the timing to optimize their performance? We will talk more about the benefits and timing of each macronutrient in the subsequent posts. Stay tuned!

Grace Yong
Force 21 Academy