Fast Facts About Sports Nutrition
Water, Water Everywhere
You can survive for a month without food, but only a
few days without water.
- Water is the most important nutrient for active
- When you sweat, you lose water, which must be replaced.
Drink fluids before, during, and after workouts.
- Water is a fine choice for most workouts. However;
during continuous workouts of greater than 90 minutes,
your body may benefit from a sports drink.
- Sports drinks have two very important ingredients
- electrolytes and carbohydrates
- Sports drinks replace electrolytes lost through
sweat during workouts lasting several hours.
- Carbohydrates in sports drinks provide extra energy.
The most effective sports drinks contain 15 to 18
grams of carbohydrate in every 8 ounces of fluid.
Rev up Your Engine with Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy.
- Carbohydrates are sugars and starches, and they
are found in foods such as breads, cereals, fruits,
vegetables, pasta, milk, honey, syrups and table sugar.
- Sugars and starches are broken down by your body
into glucose, which is used by your muscles for energy.
- For health and peak performance, more than half
your daily calories should come from carbohydrates.
- Sugars and starches have 4 calories per gram, while
fat has 9 calories per gram. In other words, carbohydrates
have less than half the calories of fat.
- If you regularly eat a carbohydrate-rich diet you
probably have enough carbohydrate stored to fuel activity.
Even so, be sure to eat a precompetition meal for
fluid and additional energy. What you eat as well
as when you eat your precompetition meal will be entirely
Flexing Your Options to Build Bigger
It is a myth that eating lots of protein and/or taking
protein supplements and exercising vigorously will definitely
turn you into a big, muscular person.
- Building muscle depends on your genes, how hard
you train, and whether you get enough calories.
- The average American diet has more than enough protein
for muscle building. Extra protein is eliminated from
the body or stored as fat.
Score with Vitamins and Minerals
Eating a varied diet will give you all the vitamins
and minerals you need for health and peak performance.
- Exceptions include active people who follow strict
vegetarian diets, avoid an entire group of foods,
or eat less than 1800 calories a day. If you fall
into any of these categories, a multivitamin and mineral
pill may provide the vitamins and minerals missing
in your diet.
- Taking large doses of vitamins and minerals will
not help your performance and may be bad for your
health. Vitamins and minerals do not supply the body
with energy and, therefore are not a substitute for
Popeye and All That Spinach
Iron supplies working muscles with oxygen.
- If your iron level is low, you may tire easily and
not have enough stamina for activity.
- The best sources of iron are animal products, but
plant foods such as fortified breads, cereals, beans
and green leafy vegetables also contain iron.
- Iron supplements may have side effects, so take
them only if your doctor tells you to.
No Bones About It, You Need Calcium
Many people do not get enough of the calcium needed
for strong bones and proper muscle function.
- Lack of calcium can contribute to stress fractures
and the bone disease, osteoporosis.
- The best sources of calcium are dairy products,
but many other foods such as salmon with bones, sardines,
collard greens, and okra also contain calcium. Additionally,
some brands of bread, tofu, and orange juice are fortified
A Weighty Matter
Your calorie needs depend on your age, body size, sport
and training program.
- The best way to make sure you are not getting too
many or too few calories is to check your weight from
time to time.
- If you're keeping within your ideal weight range,
you're probably getting the right amount of calories.
Article adapted from an NIH publication.