We have seen sportsmen performing extraordinary feats in trying weather conditions, having laser-like focus, amazing levels of endurance and much more. Many of us think it is due to years and years of practice and refining of technique which is definitely true. But another very important factor is proper nutrition. Proper nutrition is one of the essential keys to performing at the top level but is forgotten very often. Most of the time we don’t pay attention to what we put into our bodies and it could be a reason you are not performing at your highest level.
In tennis, you could have a great technique and physique, but if you don’t have the energy to last a few sets and those extreme energy consuming rallies, you are not gonna hold out long. Many athletes at the professional level have had many problems like muscle fatigue, lack of focus, low immunity and much more which have been solved by changing their diet. Novak Djokovic had gluten intolerance which prevented him from lasting long in really tough matches. Simple changes in his diet and giving his body exactly what it demanded in terms of nutrition changed his whole game and helped him attain a ranking of no.1 in the world. A change of diet not only helps out physically but also mentally because you know that you’re eating something that’s gonna improve your performance which makes you feel confident. The effects may not be shown that much on a short-term but it plays a major role in the long run.
Here are some of the benefits of proper nutrition:
*Increased energy levels
*Improved mental focus
*Reduced muscle fatigue
and much more.
A normal person needs a balanced diet of carbs, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals to function properly all day and stay healthy. However, athletes have higher nutritional requirements. In general, more activity means more energy, more nutritional requirement and increases food needs from all food groups. It’s essential that an athlete follows a proper diet with respect to his or her sport. For example, a normal person requires an average of 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, an active athlete requires 1.2-1.5 grams and a strength athlete requires 1.7 grams per kilogram.Our regular Indian diet may not provide you with the required amount of nutrients. Indian diets are loaded with carbs but at times fall short on proteins. Foods like milk and dairy products, soya beans and soy products, dal, quinoa and chia seeds are some protein-rich foods which can be taken by vegetarians.Meat, chicken, egg, and fish are some of the non-vegetarian options. Snacks like sundal, channa, lassi, groundnuts, almonds also help provide extra protein. Yet we may still miss out on some essential nutrients. This is where supplements come in.
Along with taking supplements, the time of intake is very important. During training, we lose essential salts through our sweat and the glycogen in our muscles slowly gets used up. Sports drinks, sports bars, and energy gels are very popular and are convenient. These carbs quickly enter the bloodstream and fuel the working muscles. After an intense practice session or match, your muscles need to repair themselves from the micro tears that occur during the session. Protein shakes(whey) are extremely useful as they reach the muscles within 30 minutes of consumption and begin to repair to them.
It’s also good to consult a nutritionist as they would provide a detailed diet plan which would be tailor-made to suit your needs and would be convenient. Qua nutrition is a popular franchise company in India which gives a detailed analysis of your body needs and a complete plan to follow. Many supplements are available on popular sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc.
I will be writing on many superfoods which are extremely helpful for athletes in my future posts. So please subscribe and stay tuned.