What are Macronutrients: Proteins, Carbs and Fats. Fundamentals of Nutrition for Athletes.
- Proteins are amino acids. There are 20 amino acids. Nine are essential branched chain that you get when you eat a variety of plant and animal sources such as meat, fish, chicken, legumes.
- Carbohydrates are sugar molecules and are the bodies preferred energy source because they are readily available in the bloodstream and stored and in muscles and liver as glycogen. Breads, cereals, pastas, rices, fruits and veggies are sources of carbohydrates, they are not carbohydrates.
- Fats is a source of essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make itself. Fat helps the body absorb certain micro-nutrients and are essential for hormone, cell and organ health and regulates body temperature and can also be an energy source. Avocado, nuts and oils, fish are sources of fats, they are not fats. I discuss more here
What are Micronutrients: Vitamin and Minerals
- Essential nutrients, Vitamins and minerals, found in fruits and veggies and oils. I discuss more here.
What is Nutrition?
The macro and micronutrients that support cell and organ function, our basal metabolic rate, which is what our body needs to accomplish basic life-sustaining functions.
Nutrition is important for training/performance and recovery. It starts with eating for health which includes lower blood pressure, cholesterol, lower heart and disease risk. When I think of eating for health, I think of filling my plate with lean proteins, fats, fruits and veggies that contain an assortment of micronutrients.
Your approach to nutrition for health will either be a great supporter of training (if done correctly) or an additional stressor on your system (if done incorrectly, in terms of quality, quantity and timing). When you have a solid foundation of eating for health, then eating for performance involves adding the fueling component.
What is Fueling?
What you eat during and after training to fuel your muscles and replenishing to add in recovery. Since carbohydrates are the preferred energy source, athletes should fuel with carbohydrate rich drinks, gels, bars, blocks and other food during training to sustain your ability to go a certain distance or intensity. What you eat immediately following a training session is the most important performance meal because it fuels your next training session.
Fueling is one area that athletes tend to struggle with and under consume macro and micronutrients, relative to their energy costs. Failure to replenish those glycogen stores during and following activity results in impaired recovery, a possible retention of fat and loss of muscle and injuries, which results in an increase in overall stress on your system.
This is a great description of the athlete plate. Fuel every workout with carbohydrates. Add your proteins, fats, veggies and fruits to fill up your plate at meals and adjust amount based accumulation of training load (duration and intensity).
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