How does your nutrition plan represent your athletic performance at the gym or in daily life?
We all know that perfecting your personal fitness nutrition plan can enhance your performance in the gym or on the field. There are many different schools of thought on what to eat and how much; just look at the Paleo Diet, the Low Carb Diet, the No Carb Diet etc. Everyone has their own belief of what nutrition works best for them and this often makes nutrition a controversial topic.
The USDA recommends active adult men consume 2,400-3,000 kCal and adult women consume 2,000-2,400 kCal per day. Compare that to what most professional athletes nutrition plan with totals from 2,000-8,000 kCal spread out between 5-7 meals daily. This caloric breakdown can vary depending on several factors from gaining lean mass, to losing weight or simply trying to maintain their physique.
During the 2012 Olympics, 50% of the total calories consumed came from carbohydrates for most athletes. If you were a 160 lb athlete at the same games, you would have consumed between 0.88-2.12 pounds of carbohydrates per day.
Athletes have specific nutrition and dietary requirements
Although most people are looking for the best nutrition and eating habits to lose weight, if you are competing in endurance events or at looking to increase your lean mass, it is recommended to add an additional 500-1000 calories per day to your meal plan. These extra calories should consist of foods low in fat, high in carbohydrates and protein such as grilled chicken sandwiches, peanut butter, cheese and crackers.
Athletes have specific dietary requirements and restrictions just as us. At the 2012 Olympics several athletes such as Distance Runner Nathan Brannen and Tennis Player Ana Ivan advocate a gluten-free and Paleo diet. As well, professional Tennis Players Martina Navratilova, and Billie Jean King are vegetarians while Venus Williams is a Vegan.
Some athletes however have had some unusual eating habits when preparing for competition such as Michael Phelps. At the 2008 summer Olympics he was said to have eaten 3 fried egg sandwiches, 3 slices of french toast, a bowl of grits, a 5 egg omelet and 3 chocolate chip pancakes all only for breakfast. At the same Olympic Games, Usain Bolt claimed to have eaten 1,000 Chicken McNuggets. As unusual or excessive as their eating habits may seem, they both were very successful at winning Gold in their respective events.
By Lisa Gervais, PSN Sports Nutrition Educated