Nutrition tips for sports enthusiasts

In addition to the training science, physiotherapy, sports medicine and psychology, nutritional counseling is an important building block that makes sense to complement the mosaic to the best possible performance of an athlete.

According to estimates of ecotrophologists, performance can be improved by about 15-20%, depending on the initial status, if the athlete's nutritional intake is optimized.

Basically, a full-fledged diet, as advised non-athletes, is also recommended as a basic diet for you as an athlete. Balance in nutrient composition and variety in food choices are important components of this diet. For example, the overriding goal in nutritional counseling of athletes is to explain the need-based supply of liquid, macro and micronutrients in the form of foods of common consumption. (1)

A plus in energy

While competitive athletes consume an additional 1000-3000 kcal per day (which corresponds to about 1-3 hours of intense exercise), in average sports there are on average less than 1000 kcal per day. According to study results, the training turnover of "ambitious competition-oriented recreational athletes" ranges between 400 and 1200 kcal / d for men and between 200 and 800 kcal / d for women, depending on their age. As a sportsman of the sports handball, football and basketball, you can count on a training energy turnover of 8-9 kcal / kgbody weight / h. (2)

time to eat

With the exception of athletes, this additional demand can be covered by the usual basic diet with a time-volume problem. Time-quantity problems arise when too small a time window for food intake and subsequent digestion phase is available. This often affects athletes who still go to school. Depending on your job and multiple training sessions per week, adult athletes need good time management to take their meals. Do not try to eat high-fat foods such as sweet pastries, chocolates, biscuits or chips as fast energy-yielding snacks. Although they provide a high energy density, but also contain poor "trans fat" at low nutrient density. The length of stay of high-fat meals in the stomach can be up to 4 hours and more. It's better to use special energy concentrates on critical days. However, this should not be a habit. As a rule, jam rolls, bananas, dried fruit or granola bars serve equally well. (2)

Step 1: The requirement for your organism

Each sport has a different requirement profile. Athletes from playing sports differ not only from the time management of, for example, endurance athletes but also from the physiological requirements of their organism. The important in game sport components technology and tactics have a very large impact on the performance of the players. However, the conditional abilities must also be optimally trained. A well-trained basic stamina is a prerequisite for successful players and of great use. In addition to aerobic endurance, athletes need sports-specific stamina in the form of anaerobic lactic acid and anaerobic alactic forms of exercise. Sports such as handball, football and basketball differ in the respective proportions of endurance types. However, all have in common that they have to master the entire game through the changing intensities of mileage. Recurring intense mileages are included in all sports games. Playing sports has a rather interval-like, acyclic character. The player must be able to complete explosive appearances with subsequent sprints, dripplings, quick changes of direction and jumps without losing quality and dynamics.

Step 2: diet customized

Physiological adaptations to your training and adjustments based on your diet are closely linked. By tuning these two effects directly, you will be able to further optimize your training adjustments. Specifically, this means that you should first look at the periodization of your sport. Basic nutrition in the transitional period, which is fully regenerative and does not include any training sessions, is a different diet than the one you should practice, for example, in preparatory periods or even during competitive periods. As a basic nutrition in the transitional period, a diet high in fat and protein is recommended. This results in a nutrient composition

- about 30% carbohydrates,

- 40-45% fat and

- 25-30% protein.

In periods of rest in which no intense physical stress on the program, this diet allows you to feel fit and vital through the optimal supply of vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber and a pleasant long-term satiety. That's because, with a fairly large volume of food, you can absorb a high nutrient density at a low energy density. Another benefit of this diet is to prevent weight gain as it may result from lack of physical activity. (3)

Nutrition in preparation and competition periods

For intense physical stress as they take place in the game sport in every training session and of course during competitions, your organism needs energy. During high-intensity loads, much of the energy is provided by anaerobic glycolysis, that is, without the use of oxygen. Here, only carbohydrates can be metabolized. It is not without reason that they play a special role in sports nutrition and are called fuel for our body. In addition, they provide more energy per unit of time than fats and are thus the primary source of energy for all intense exercise. Therefore, you should switch to a more carbohydrate diet during competition preparation. According to current specifications, your food should then be composed as follows:

- 55-60% of the daily energy intake should be with carbohydrates,

- 25-30% with fat and

- 12-15% be covered with egg whites.

This way, you can fill your muscle and liver glycogen stores during direct competition preparation. On the other hand, you provide your organism with sufficient and fast energy during the competition and protect the memory. (3)

The game day - time regime and food selection

The competition day is a special nutritional situation. Here you should note two important points: Firstly, it is important that you consider the times you take your food well and plan well. On the other hand, food selection plays a big role here. This should be carbohydrate-stressed, but not all types of carbohydrates are equally suitable.

Here are some tips for you (4):

- On the eve of a competition day, you can eat a large portion of carbohydrates with a medium glycemic index (GI). This builds muscle glycogen so that your stores are well filled. High-starch, fiber-containing foods such as wholegrain spaghetti with tomato sauce or vegetable risotto are ideal.

- The day should not be started soberly, as a lastsfast of several hours as it represents the night is accompanied by an emptying of the liver glycogen stores. Start despite a nervousness with a big breakfast.

- 4-3 hours before exercise, you should have the last big meal. Again, carbohydrates with medium GI are suitable. They are absorbed relatively quickly without unnecessarily burdening the organism.

- In sports where drinking during exercise is difficult or even impossible, it has been proven to drink extensively 2 hours before exercise.

- Half an hour before the load, a small snack is recommended. A banana or a jam with jam, for example, reduces the fall in blood sugar level at the beginning of stress.

- A few minutes before the beginning of exercise you should take one last time 150-300 ml of liquid.

- During the half-time break, it is best to resort to carbohydrate-containing sports drinks with a high GI. They protect the glycogen stores and stabilize the blood sugar level. In addition, they return the body fluid that it loses during exposure to sweat. Here you should resort to hypo-isotonic drinks, such as the apple juice spritzer in the ratio 1: 1.

- In the half-time break, the banana represents the ideal snack.

Immediately after intense exercise, the muscles are particularly susceptible to carbohydrate intake and storage. In addition to carbohydrate-rich foods with high GI, to quickly fill the empty glycogen storage and accelerate the regeneration, sugary drinks are recommended because it also equal the fluid balance is replenished. This food intake is very important because it stops muscle breakdown and initiates repair processes.

1-2 hours after the race you should have a full meal. This initiates the transition to basic nutrition and further optimizes the regeneration processes. Alcohol, which is often drunk in team sports after completing training or competitions, rather hinders the so important regeneration processes. By contrast, there is nothing wrong with alcohol-free wheat beers as isotonic thirst quencher with valuable minerals.

Hanna Sandig

More articles:

Strength training in basketball

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1. aid infodienst Consumer Protection, Nutrition, Agriculture eV (2005). All-round fit with sports and nutrition. Cologne: Moeker Merkur Druck GmbH

2. Nutrition (2008). Vol. 5 (2), pp. 196-204.

3. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (2010). Vol. 57 (2), pp. 26-35.

4. Sandy & Jochum (2010). Practical Guide Nutrition: How to Get Fit. Bonn: Orgenda sports publisher

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