"Sports nutrition" applies equally to the elite athlete and the active person. A solid sports nutrition plan can support your training and improve your performance, all while promoting health and wellness. Eating right allows your body to adapt to training, helps you recover after exercise and attain peak performance. A sports dietitian can help you develop personalized eating plans to meet the needs of your sport.
Physical Fitness and Your Body
Your body adapts to frequent and consistent exercise. Long-term physical activity improves overall fitness, including:
- Cardiovascular health (blood flow, blood pressure and oxygen delivery)
- Respiratory function
- Immune response
- Muscles and bones
- Metabolism (how we use food for fuel).
The body changes as physical fitness improves. For example, the amount of oxygen you are able to take in and deliver to working muscles (called cardiorespiratory endurance) may increase. You may gain greater muscle and bone strength, in addition to flexibility. Your body weight may change, as well as the amount of muscle, bone and fat you carry. All of these adjustments help to better your performance.
Eat Right, Reap the Benefits
Your body needs carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and fluid to fuel it for exercise.
Even if you're not in a sport that has a finish line, eating right means you are able to delay fatigue; it can allow you to push harder and recover faster. It can give you the edge you need to set a personal record. Without the proper calories, nutrients and fluid, your efforts could be unsuccessful.
Eating right will:
- Help you train longer and at a higher intensity
- Delay the onset of fatigue
- Promote recovery
- Help your body adapt to workouts
- Improve body composition and strength
- Enhance concentration
- Help maintain healthy immune function
- Reduce the chance of injury
- Reduce the risk of heat cramps and stomach aches.
Get the most out of your workouts. Whether you are a pro athlete, a runner or a gym enthusiast, what you eat matters. Eat right for optimal performance.
Reviewed January 2013