THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD NUTRITION FOR ATHLETES
Good nutrition is important for everyone, but athletes in particular feel firsthand how not eating properly can affect performance. Their need for calories is greater than the average person, ranging from 2000 to 5000 calories a day, depending on gender. If you’re an athlete who lets good nutrition fall down on the priority list, consider the ways it can impact both your performance and health.
ENERGY AND PERFORMANCE
Carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats provide the fuel needed to maintain energy. Carbohydrates are involved in regulating your blood sugar and glycogen level in your muscles, which is vital for preventing muscle fatigue. While watching fat intake is important, severely restricting it from your diet is unwise. Fat provides essential fatty acids and your body uses it as an energy source, particularly if your activity lasts longer than an hour. In fact, it can provide up to 75 percent of the energy endurance athletes need for long-term aerobic performance, according to Dr. Jennifer Anderson, a registered dietician and professor at Colorado State University. Protein helps build new tissue and is also used as an energy source. Your need for protein is higher if you’re involved in resistance training.