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Sports nutrition: How do athletes eat properly?

No matter what goal an athlete wants to achieve, the right nutrition is essential for the desired training effect. But how do athletes eat properly, what is sports nutrition and can it help to achieve the desired goal?

What is sports nutrition?

As athletes have a special need for nutrients, there is so-called sports nutrition. This includes food products such as power bars, protein powder, electrolyte drinks and more.

Specialised sports nutrition supports certain processes in the body and is intended to have a positive effect on training results. Different products are useful depending on the training goal. Regardless of whether you want to lose weight as an athlete or gain weight through sport – the right nutrition plays a major role.

Why is the right diet so important for athletes?

Even in everyday life, it is important to eat a varied and balanced diet. However, athletes in particular have a high need for vitamins, minerals and energy and must therefore pay particular attention to their diet. This is the only way to prevent muscle cramps or bouts of weakness. No matter what sport you do – be it swimming, tennis, triathlon or football – every sporting activity requires sufficient energy.

What is the right diet for athletes?

A balanced diet is very important for athletes. They should consume sufficient vitamins and minerals. Fresh fruit and vegetables form the basis of a healthy diet. Plant-based foods with a high nutrient density and low calories are highly recommended.

These are best combined with minerals, which can be found in wholemeal or dairy products, for example. In this way, the body is supplied with all the necessary nutrients both before and after training.

Sports nutrition should therefore only be seen as a supplement. Just as athletes should only use nutritional supplements if they cannot meet their increased nutritional requirements through their diet, they should also not consume sports nutrition as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.

Protein is particularly important for athletes. This is because the human musculature consists mainly of protein. If you don’t provide your body with enough protein, you risk weakening your muscles. This is why high-quality protein sources are particularly important for strength training. Protein also stimulates regeneration processes in the body. This can prevent injuries that would otherwise only result from long breaks in training. Athletes also need protein to maintain a stable blood sugar level.

Other important nutrients are:

Micronutrients such as sodium and potassium to regulate the water balance

– Antioxidants in vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene

– B vitamins for increased performance

Iron for better oxygen transport

Magnesium for better communication between muscles and nerves

Calcium for strong muscles and bones

These foods are suitable as sports nutrition

It is not always necessary to resort to special sports nutrition. In many cases, it is also possible to provide the body with all the necessary nutrients such as vitamins and minerals by consuming specific foods. The following foods are suitable as natural sports nutrition:

Nuts: These foods are not only excellent nerve food, but also serve to prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. They contain plenty of protein, vital substances and fatty acids. They also provide B vitamins and are therefore particularly relevant for active people.

Oat flakes: They are the ideal breakfast for athletes. They provide minerals, trace elements and fibre. They therefore have a positive effect on cholesterol levels and blood sugar and can prevent diabetes.

Pulses: Beans, peas, lentils and the like provide particularly long-lasting energy. They also contain lots of energisers such as minerals and vitamins. The protein contained in pulses is very high quality and can be easily processed by the body.

Dried fruit: Dates or dried apricots provide a large amount of fibre as well as potassium. This makes them a suitable snack for people who do strength training.

Amaranth: The small seeds originate from Mexico and can be used in as many ways as cereals. However, they provide a large amount of high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Amaranth is also full of magnesium, iron and calcium.

Drinks play a major role in sport

It’s not just the food an athlete eats that plays an important role in their training results. They should also pay attention to their drinks. The fluid balance should always be topped up. This doesn’t just mean drinking 2-3 litres a day. If you do strenuous activities, you may need to drink even more water. However, constant fluid intake is not necessarily advisable either. This leads to an increased salt concentration in the body and a drop in performance. It is therefore important to find the right balance.

As the requirements for drinks for athletes are varied, there is also sports nutrition in the form of drinks. There are three different categories:

– Isotonic drinks: The ratio of nutrients to liquid corresponds to that of human blood. Such a drink is therefore recommended after a strenuous and sweaty workout.

– Hypotonic drinks: Here the concentration of dissolved particles is slightly lower than in the blood. This makes them ideal for endurance athletes.

– Hypertonic drinks: They have a higher concentration of dissolved particles than those in the blood. The feeling of thirst increases and the thirst is not quenched. Thus, a negative effect is achieved by the intake. Examples of this are cola or lemonade.

Do dietary supplements make sense for athletes?

Dietarysupplements can prove to be very useful in sport. They offer helpful support. This is because the need for certain nutrients is higher for athletes than for other people who do less sport or no sport at all. Supplements can help to cover these additional requirements.

Nevertheless, athletes should only consider nutritional supplements as a supplement to a healthy and balanced diet. Just like sports nutrition, it is important that a healthy diet forms the basis. Athletes can take everything else as a supplementary measure.

At Kingnature, for example, athletes can find high-quality nutritional supplements to cover their increased requirements. They are of natural origin, which is why the body can absorb and utilise the nutrients particularly well.

Buying sports nutrition: What athletes should look out for

Sports nutrition can be clearly distinguished from dietary supplements. Nevertheless, individual nutrient requirements play an important role in both forms of supplementation. This depends on many personal parameters. These include age, weight, gender and, above all, the training goal. Depending on whether an athlete wants to lose weight or build muscle mass, the nutrient requirements are also very individual.

Sports nutrition is aimed at achieving individual goals. You should therefore bear these goals in mind before making a purchase and then select the right product.

It is also important to buy only high-quality sportsnutrition. There are many differences between products on the market. Sports nutrition should avoid superfluous ingredients and deliver the benefits it promises. In addition, products of natural and plant-based origin are considered to be much healthier than synthetically produced sports nutrition.

Various sports nutrition tests have shown that natural sports nutrition is not only healthier, but can also be better absorbed and utilised by the body. Athletes therefore benefit more when they buy high-quality products.

Conclusion: sports nutrition can be a supplement for achieving training goals

Every athlete pursues different goals with their training. What they all have in common, however, is an increased need for nutrients. In order to cover these additional requirements, special sports nutrition is available in addition to nutritional supplements. These provide athletes with everything they need to achieve their training goals. When buying sports nutrition, it is important that the products are high-quality and natural. The body benefits most from this. In addition, it should not replace a healthy and balanced diet.