Have you ever thought about whether Usain Bolt and Virat Kohli be eating the same diet? Sounds illogical, isn’t it? Not only because they live in a different country but because they have grown in different soil, their traditional food and the food that suits their genetics, sports are totally different from each other so thus their sports nutrition.
However, it’s also the sport that makes a huge difference. Before I explain it to you let me introduce to you what Sports Nutrition is – Sports Nutrition is a branch of Nutrition which deals with all sorts of athletes or persons who are practicing sport. The nutrition for such athletes has to specific and should consider the type of the sport, quality & quantity of the meals, and nutrition before, during, and post their training/ competition.
Let’s continue this example of a cricketer and a sprinter, and why both are different. How long the cricket match is off? Its duration is surely more than the sprinter plays on the track, isn’t it? In cricket because of its longer duration, the body predominantly uses an aerobic pathway which predominantly depends on fat for fuel to provide sustained release of exercise.
At the same time, a sprinter finishes his sprint within a few secs, or minutes if it is for long-distance but never above 15 mins. In this case, his body predominantly depends on the quickest bursts of energy which will help him finish it faster without getting his body fatigued. This was about the duration of the competitions.
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Do you think the intensity of both games is similar? Intensity is a term that directly relates to speed. So, because cricket is played for a longer duration and sprinting is for a shorter duration, sprinting should become less intense and cricket should be called more intense! But it is not the case. Duration does not decide the intensity; however, it is necessary to understand this and plan the nutrition accordingly.
When a normal individual plays or trains and is not a professional or elite athlete, the training hours differ in both cases, and hence even though they are playing the same game, due to the training hours their nutritional demands vary.
Hydration is also an inseparable part of Sports Nutrition. All endurance-based sports benefit drastically from the hydration strategies that are included in sports nutrition. There are researches that explain how the performance starts to descend when the hydration status of an athlete starts to drop. Hydration status is directly related to the intensity of the sport and even duration.
Other than the physical aspect, the body also loses fluid and electrolytes with stress, environmental factors, genetics (one’s body’s tendency to lose more water). If the athlete is training for more than 1-hour the body requires fluid, however, plain water is not something to aim for improving hydration status as it may lead to hyponatremia if only plain water consumed, the body needs electrolytes as well to retain the fluid and to replenish the lost electrolytes.
As per the best nutritionist in Chennai, all of this along with other factors need to be taken into consideration before making a customized nutrition plan, which looks after the kind of sport the athlete is involved in, what are his needs and demands of the game, what is his position in the game, for example – A footballer, depending on his position is going to make all the movements whether he is a defender, midfielder or goalkeeper, but the nutrition for all three of them is going to be way different than each other due to their positions.
Hence it is crucial to not generalize sports and take care of the athlete’s nutrition as per their chosen sports discipline and training, which will encourage them to win in flying colors in Olympics.
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MSc, PGD Sports Nutrition
ACSM CPT, CDE.
Work experience – 2 years
Present designation at QUA – Sports & Clinical Nutritionist