Nutrition Recommendations for Active Adults and Athletes

Below are summarized points of the current energy, nutrient, and fluid recommendations for active adults and competitive athletes. As stated in an ADA, DoC, and ACSM position statement. Individual athletes’ nutrient needs, food preferences, and body weight and body composition goals can all be addressed by a sports dietitian (RD). The RD can tailor these general recommendations to meet the specific needs of the athlete.

The Position Statement

The American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine all believe that proper nutrition improves physical activity, athletic performance, and exercise recovery. For maximum health and exercise performance, these organizations propose appropriate diet and beverage (fluid) selection, the timing of intake, and supplement options.

hydrate during exercises

1. Energy requirement

A sufficient amount of energy must be consumed during high-intensity training to maintain body weight, maximize training effects, and sustain health. Low-energy intakes can cause muscle loss, menstruation disruption, bone density loss or failure, and an increased risk of weariness, injury, and disease.

2. Body Weight and Composition

Although body weight and composition have an impact on exercise performance, they should not be utilized as the main criterion for sports participation; frequent weigh-ins are discouraged. Optimal body fat levels vary depending on the athlete’s sex, age, and heredity, as well as the sport. The inherent diversity of body-fat measuring methodologies limits the precision with which they may be understood. If weight loss (fat loss) is required, it should begin before the competition season and involve the assistance of qualified health and nutrition professionals.

You can check on; The healthy way to lose weight and maintain it.

3. Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates are necessary for maintaining blood glucose levels and replacing muscle glycogen during exercise. Athletes should consume 6 to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight each day. The amount required is determined by the athlete’s total daily energy expenditure, the type of sport they participate in, their gender, and the weather conditions.

Keep your glucose close

4. Protein

Highly active people have slightly higher protein requirements. Endurance athletes should consume 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg body weight per day, but resistance and strength-trained athletes should consume 1.6 to 1.7 g/kg body weight per day. If energy consumption is adequate to maintain body weight, these recommended protein intakes can generally be attained through diet alone, without the need for protein or amino acid supplements.

5. Fats

Fat intake should not be reduced because consuming a diet with less than 15% fat energy provides no performance advantage over consuming a diet with 20% to 25% fat energy. Athletes’ diets should include fat because it offers energy, fat-soluble vitamins, and vital fatty acids. Furthermore, there is no scientific justification for advising athletes to eat high-fat diets.

6. Micronutrients

Athletes who restrict energy intake or employ extreme weight-loss methods, exclude one or more food groups from their diet, or consume high-carbohydrate diets with poor micronutrient density are at the greatest risk of micronutrient deficiencies. Athletes should aim to consume diets that meet or exceed the RDAs/DRIs for all micronutrients.

7. Hydration/Dehydration

Dehydration reduces exercise performance, thus drinking plenty of water before, during, and after exercise is essential for good health and performance. Athletes should drink enough water to replace the fluids they lose during exercise. 400 to 600 mL (14 to 22 oz) of fluid should be consumed two hours before exercise, and 150 to 350 mL (6 to 12 oz) of fluid should be consumed every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise, depending on tolerance. After exercising, the athlete should drink enough water to restore the fluids lost through sweating. For every pound (0.5 kg) of body weight lost during activity, the athlete should consume 450 to 675 mL (16 to 24 oz) of fluid.

What to eat Before exercise

A meal or snack before exercise should contain enough fluid to maintain hydration, be relatively low in fat and fibre to facilitate gastric emptying and minimize gastrointestinal distress, be relatively high in carbohydrates to maximize blood glucose maintenance, be moderate in protein, and be made up of foods the athlete is familiar with and tolerates.

What to eat During your workout

The primary goals of nutrition-ingestion during exercise are to restore fluid losses and provide carbohydrates (about 30 to 60 g per hour) for blood glucose maintenance. These nutrition rules are especially crucial for endurance activities lasting more than an hour, when the athlete hasn’t eaten or drank enough before exercising, or when the athlete is exercising in a harsh environment (heat, cold, or altitude).

What to eat After exercise

The purpose of the diet after exercise is to supply enough energy and carbs to replace muscle glycogen and enable a quick recovery. If an athlete’s glycogen stores are exhausted after exercise, 1.5 g/kg body weight carbohydrate consumption for the first 30 minutes and then every 2 hours for the next 4 to 6 hours will suffice to replenish glycogen levels. Protein ingested after exercise provides amino acids for muscle tissue growth and repair. As a result, following a strenuous competition or training session, athletes should have a mixed meal that contains carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Conclusion

In general, if an athlete consumes enough energy from a range of foods to maintain body weight, vitamin and mineral supplements are unnecessary. Non-exercise supplementation recommendations, such as folic acid in women of reproductive potential, should be followed. A multivitamin/mineral supplement may be beneficial if an athlete is dieting, avoiding foods or dietary categories, is sick or recovering from injury, or has a specific micronutrient shortage. Without a specific medical or nutritional purpose, no single nutrient supplement should be utilized (eg, iron supplements to reverse iron deficiency anaemia).

About the author

CEO and Founder at Sports Science Gh | Website

RND (RD) // MPhil Human Nutrition and Dietetic // BSc Sports and Exercise Science

Emmanuel Amankrah Kwofie
Emmanuel Amankrah Kwofie

RND (RD) // MPhil Human Nutrition and Dietetic // BSc Sports and Exercise Science

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