Food for performance
Jennifer Walker, BScNutr
Sport nutrition is the science of nourshing the body for optimal athletic performance, including learning how to feed our bodies, diet and supplement wise.
Sport nutrition supplements are often misunderstood. Many people get the wrong impression when viewing the virile muscular men featured on sport supplement labels. In reality, sport nutrition is the science of nourishing the body for optimal athletic performance.
Sport nutrition helps athletes find an edge over the competition through diet. Just as we have learned how to make a better running shoe or a dry wicking garment, we have learned to feed our bodies to improve performance. From this desire, a $20 billion industry has arisen that designs sport nutrition supplements for recovery, energy, growth, weight loss, and athletic performance.
The science of sport nutrition has taught us what athletes should eat and when they should eat for optimal performance.
The importance of the post-workout meal
The most important meal in an athlete’s day is not breakfast. It’s actually the meal directly post workout. After intense exercise the body is in a catabolic state in which muscle tissue is broken down, and the energy in the muscles is depleted. During the 30 to 90 minutes directly following exercise there is a window of opportunity to stop the damage and to rapidly replenish muscle glycogen (energy).
While these needs can absolutely be met by food, sport nutrition supplements offer a convenient, quick, and tasty option. These food sources of protein (for example, whey protein) are concentrated to be predominantly protein by filtering off fat, carbohydrates, and minerals. The best nutrient choice is a fast-absorbing combination of carbohydrates and protein in a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio.
Pre-workout food and fluids influence performance
The food and fluid choices made pre-workout offer performance advantage and comfort during activities. Any runner knows when and what they can eat before a run and how it feels if they eat or drink incorrectly. Pre-workout supplements are engineered to provide energy and focus and to hydrate the body.
Eating frequent small meals boosts metabolism
Research on metabolism and fat loss shows that eating every two to three hours increases the metabolic rate and thus helps the body burn more calories. Eating regularly encourages optimal brain functioning and elevated energy levels.
Sport nutrition supplements are a convenient way to help you eat five to six small meals a day. Protein powders, meal replacements, and weight gainers can provide easy-to-pack snacks for a nutritional boost throughout the day.
Sport nutrition companies are working to create healthy, convenient supplements to naturally enhance performance and recovery.