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The importance of sports nutrition
Consuming the right balance of food and drink is important for everyone. Yet those actively participating in sport on a regular basis need to be aware that it can also affect their performance. Athletes, for example, may need more calories than the average person. So if you’re an athlete, or simply someone who’s made the decision to start exercising on a regular basis, you shouldn’t let a good nutrition plan fall down on your list of priorities.

Sports performance and energy

Fats, protein and carbohydrates all provide your body with fuel to maintain energy. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel used by working muscles. Adequate intake is essential for preventing muscle fatigue. While you should monitor your fat intake, you should not remove it from your diet completely. Fats provide fatty acids that can be used as a source of energy – especially if your exercise sessions last longer than one hour. Fats also provide the building blocks for hormones and formation of cell walls. Protein can be used as a source of energy and is critical for building new muscle tissue. If you are taking part in resistance training, your body will require additional protein.

Weight management

To maintain a healthy weight, eating well is crucial. If you are looking to lose weight for sport, strictly reducing your protein, fat or calorie intake can not only have a negative impact on your performance, but it can severely harm your body.

The types of food that you should include in your diet for optimum sports nutrition include:

whole grains
sources of lean protein and low-fat dairy produce
healthy fats.

It’s crucial to stay hydrated when you are taking part in sports. Inadequate fluid intake leads to dehydration. This affects your performance; and can be dangerous for your health too. Although dehydration can happen in any activity, it’s more prevalent when exercising in hot and humid conditions. Water is perfect for rehydration, but if you are engaged in physical activity for longer than one hour, sports drinks that include electrolytes can be helpful.

After the event
Even if things haven’t gone to plan in your game, or you’ve had to walk the last half-mile of your run because of fatigue, you shouldn’t neglect your nutritional needs. It should be a priority, no matter what the result is. Athletes, casual runners, footballers and so on typically do not consume enough fluids when they are taking part in events, or even training. So restoring the balance after the event is crucial. Water is perfect for rehydration.

How a sports nutrition professional can help
The aim of a sports nutritionist or dietitian is to create a nutrition plan for an individual’s training needs. The plan will incorporate both food and hydration. It doesn’t matter if you’re casually exercising or training for a professional event, sports nutrition is integral to performance. These strategies can also help to:

increase energy levels
promote good health
help manage weight
improve concentration
develop body composition and growth
enhance recovery.
To create the best nutrition strategy, a sports nutrition professional will be required to assess not just an individual’s training and diet but also their lifestyle, day to day habits, supplements and if you are taking any medication. A nutrition professional will also be able to analyse and support you with your long and short-term goals.

If you are looking to improve your diet to complement your training plan, use our advanced search tool to find a sports nutrition professional in your area that can help.


There are two key forms of carbohydrates – starchy or complex, and simple sugars. Simple sugars are carbohydrates, found in refined products and provide a sweet taste. Simple sugars are naturally found in milk products, fruit and vegetables. They can also be added to foods using white sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses and maple syrup etc. Though all of the sugars which we eat (whether they occur naturally or are added) are used by the body in the same way, it is better to get your simple sugars from foods in which they occur naturally as these foods also contain fibre and important nutrients.

Complex carbohydrates, also known as starches, include grains such as bread, pasta and rice. Similarly to simple sugars, there are some complex carbohydrates that are better than others. Processed refined grains such as white rice and white flour are less favourable as the nutrients and fibre are removed.

Instead, nutritionists recommend that where possible, individuals opt for unrefined grains, which are still packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Article Credit: http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk

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