Healthy food and diet plans every ardent sportsperson should follow

Being mustard-keen about sports and living on chiko rolls is never of any benefit. Whether you are a hardcore gymmer, a regular participator in outdoor sporting activities or just a rookie, a proper nutritious diet should be a no-negligence thing for you. But, the big question is: “How do you do it righteously?”.

The baby step begins with the setup a sturdy, flexible base diet:

Sportspeople should settle on a flexi training diet, which can be easily modified according to situations. Say, there is a sudden shift in your workout load, or you have switched to a different exercise for a different body part. With an open-ended, robust base diet, you can always consume an adequate amount of nutrients and adapt your body to tweaking training sessions, accordingly.

Your base diet should:

  • Have a generous amount of nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
  • Supply plenty of energy to your body.
  • Be able to use up the carbohydrate content in your diet to the fullest during workout. This is known as maintaining an energy balance.

Why is an energy balance needed?

This is the most important part of your entire workout struggle – to be able to match the total outlay of energy during exercise to that, which is consumed. Energy comes from carbohydrates, proteins, fats and alcohol. But, the requirement varies from person to person.

Energy requirements for a sportsperson depend on his:

  • Body size.
  • Bodybuilding plans.
  • The amount of energy used up during workout.

Of course, with a smart planning, amazing results can be achieved.

Carbohydrates: How much is good for athletes?

Carbohydrate is the prime nutrient for all sportspeople. It fuels heavy workout sessions and high-intensity exercises. The human body cannot store a lot of carbohydrate. Therefore, the repository must always be kept filled up.

According to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), here is a chart that will help you determine the amount of carbohydrate you require according to the type of exercise you perform:

Carbohydrate intake goals

Carbohydrate intake goals

Now, choose your food according to the amount of carbohydrate you need. This chart will help you:

Nutrient rich food choices providing 30g of carbohydrate

Nutrient rich food choices providing 30g of carbohydrate

Protein: What is the right amount?

Post-exercise speedy recovery needs you to consume proteins, especially if you are a beginner or have recently shifted to a different type of workout regime. But, protein levels need not always be high. The Australian Institute of Sports has also provided a chart, which depicts the amount of protein that should be consumed according to the body mass of athletes:

Guidelines for maximum protein needs for different groups of athletes

Guidelines for maximum protein needs for different groups of athletes

Here is a list of food that contains about 10g of protein:

Foods that provide approximately 10g of protein

Foods that provide approximately 10g of protein

Other nutrients:

Experts recommend a very low intake of fats and oils, and high intake of fiber-rich foods. A moderate amount of alcohol is also recommended by many.

A varied diet helps in maintaining the energy balance well. Include a lot of wholesome food, like multi-grain cereals, brown rice or bread and whole meal pasta. Eat a lot of fruit and green, leafy vegetables. Salads and sandwiches in your diet are a must-have. Keep it natural as much as you can, and work your way toward a healthy, happy life.

*Image Credits: Australian Institute of Sport

Vikram Kamboj

Aspiring Media Enthusiast, Cricket Tragic, Football Fanatic, Avid Reader, Amateur Photographer & Wannabe Sports Writer.

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