Being in perfect physical form is only one part of the equation if you want to achieve top performance. The other essential part is sports nutrition. How can one stay hydrated and have all the essential nutrition before undertaking physical activities?
Follow these tips to get started:
A 1 percent loss in body fluids could be enough to reduce your performance. For this reason, you’ll need to be mindful and stay hydrated. The good thing is that water is usually sufficient to get you back on track. The rule of thumb is to drink 16 oz fluids 2 hours before exercising, and drink 5 to 10 oz fluids in 15-minute intervals while exercising.
You can get more mileage if you go for sports drinks, but it is only recommended for certain activities such as stop-and-go sports (sprinting, soccer, basketball) or endurance activities (cycling, triathlon, marathon). It effectively replaces lost electrolytes, carbs, and fluids spent during the activity.
Calculate. your energy needs according to your gender, height, weight and the level of activity you intend to carry out. Consult a sports dietitian to get the best energy prescription that’s fully customized for your physiology.
Carbs. Carbohydrates are more important than protein or fat as it is the most consumed nutrient during any physical activity. Eat about 1 to 4 grams per kilo of body weight 1-4 hours prior to exercising. Focus more on long-lasting carbohydrate foods that have protein content as well, like peanut butter on whole wheat bread.
Protein. Nutrition sports experts recommend protein consumption of somewhere around 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilo of body weight for optimal performance. Individuals who are in the midst of growth spurts (adolescents, teens) should consume more protein to help with physical growth.
Fat. This nutrient is used by athletes in many different ways. Fat helps with absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, provide essential fatty acids and can act as a backup energy reserve of carbs or calories are lacking. Athletes may consume fat as recommended- up to 35% of calories should be taken from fat sources and no higher than 10% coming from saturated fat foods.