Sports professionals and enthusiasts have one thing in common, the need to become the best they can be at their chosen sport. Sports have been around since the ancient times and athletes have since those times had a special diet structured especially for the sporting person. The human body is an amazing machine which is able to adapt to a variety of diets and circumstances. Sports diets are a way to exploit this by subjecting the body to optimum training and nutritional conditions in order to achieve the best performance possible.
For sports participants, diet represents one of the most important factors of performance, which is closely followed by exercise or training. Diet requirements for athletes are as varied as there are sports. The different characteristics of each sport determine the kind of physique and performance required from the body. These varied performances are unique to certain diets. Each diet nevertheless has a common denominator in that it must have all the nutritional building blocks: vitamins, micronutrients, macronutrients, minerals, protein, carbohydrate and roughage. These however, vary in quantity and composition from one sport diet to another.
Some sports require strength while others require endurance or speed. These requirements then are used to determine the composition of the sports nutrition. For strength requirements, the nutritional requirements would contain large amounts of protein which are used to build muscle mass. If the sporting requirement is speed, then more vitamins, carbohydrates and other micronutrients may be required in order to build stamina.
Sport training is also divided into aerobic and anaerobic training. This further differentiates the types of diet needed. Aerobic training requires more calories and as such the diet must be high in slow-release energy. Anaerobic training requires less energy because it is done in short bursts and hence the need for instant energy.
Sports dietary requirements are an essential part to any success in sports. Training may be important, but the body requires certain ‘fuel’ in order to perform in tiptop form. However, it must be noted that getting the correct balance between diet, training and rest is the best formula for successful participation in sports.