They say that great artists are made, not born. The same could also be said for athletes. Of course, genetics plays a large part in differentiating a mere athlete from a sports champion, but to be able to attain that legendary status in the Hall of Fame, an aspiring sportsman must go through the strictest of diets that will help shape and strengthen the physique.
What are the factors to be considered in designing a complete and healthy natural sports nutrition program?
Obviously, the most important thing in natural sports nutrition is water. The significance of water can never be discounted because the human body is composed of sixty percent of it, and every bodily function cannot work without water. The good old eight-cups-of-water-a-day recommendation is essential because the body must replace the water it eliminates, like sweat and urine.
Here are some helpful reminders to maintain proper hydration:
-Instead of slugging humongous amounts of water in infrequent sittings, drink small portions in frequent durations.
-Cold beverages aid the body in cooling down body temperature, therefore cutting down the amount of sweating.
-One should drink 2-3 cups of water for every pound that the body losses after exercising.
2. Sources of Fuel
A balanced diet is another must for natural sports nutrition. Athletes must acquire the perfect combination of calories that can be consumed from protein, carbohydrates and fats, which are great sources of energy.
Carbohydrates are the most important fuel source, which can be found in foods such as breads, pastas, rice, fruits, veggies and cereals. These foods can supply the body about seventy percent of the needed daily calories. Carbs provide the body the power and endurance it needs for short-duration activities that involve maximum level of intensity. This fuel comes from the energy given by sugar and starches that the body converts.
Here are strategies to maximize the potential of carbs:
-Start loading up on carbs at least several days before prior to the competition.
-Carbs should be consumed in greater amounts in the duration of activities that lasts more than one hour to fend off the onset of fatigue.
Another imperative factor in natural sports nutrition is proteins. Athletes should eat lots of dairy, eggs, meats, fish and chicken, along with nuts and beans. Protein supplies as much as fifteen percent of calories in the body. To determine the amount of protein needed by an athlete, the following factors should be considered: his fitness level, the type of exercise along with its duration and intensity, and his overall carb and calorie intake.
The last fuel source that is important for natural sports nutrition is fats. There are two kinds: saturated and unsaturated. Although it is a significant component in nutrition, the intake of fats should be strictly monitored. Too much consumption of fats may lead to major health problems such as cancer and heart disease.
The road to sports excellence is not easy. Along with fostering courage and determination, athletes have to follow the strict regimen brought on by natural sports nutrition. But all of these will be worth the trouble once victory is achieved.