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The Importance Of Adequate Diet And Nutrition During Intense Training

February 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 175

Many first time trainers believe the actual workout is the most important aspect of enhancing performance. There is no doubt that training frequency, intensity and how appropriate to your goals the routine itself is plays an important role, but is it the most vital ingredient?

There seems little point in putting all that hard work into your training, sweating profoundly and feeling exhausted after a workout, then not giving the body the critical nutrition and rest it needs to recover and grow back bigger and stronger. This is where diet is crucial. Of course you are not going to get anywhere on diet alone, but then does it not seem a waste of energy and effort if all the hard work is put in whilst in the gym and none whilst in the kitchen. If you are training for muscle and do not eat adequate calories or protein in your daily diet do you think you will grow. If you are training for fat loss and are consuming chocolate or sweets all day do you think you will lose weight. What about if you are training for a marathon and neglect to feed the body adequate carbohydrates, do you think your body will recover quickly enough to improve on your time.

The average diet when training should meet certain requirements. The most important and obvious is to provide the body with adequate energy and nutrients to meet the demands of the particular training regime followed. The majority of nutrition should come from whole foods, including protein from lean meats, eggs and nuts, carbohydrates from whole grain breads, rice, pasta, then fruits and vegetables followed by healthy fats from eggs, nuts, and various seeds. The diet should provide quick and full recovery post training, and provide adequate fluids to ensure maximum hydration, especially during training.

The average macros when training should be similar to when not training if a healthy and balanced diets maintained. The recommended daily energy intake from calories is to consume 50% from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 20% from fats split into 6 to 8 small meals per day. This to ensure the body's metabolism runs at its optimum rate. Depending on your goals you may want to change these proportions slightly, for example if weight loss was your goal you would more than likely reduce the carbohydrates to around 30 to 35% and up the fats. If you reduce your calorie intake by too much you will begin to feel lethargic and lack energy, which in turn will reduce your training performance.

To calculate what you should be eating based on the above assumption you need to work out your daily requirements from carbs, protein and fats based on your overall daily calorie intake. Every one gram of fat contains 9 calories, whereas every one gram of carbs and protein contains four calories. The average daily calorie intake recommendation for men is 2500, whereas for women it is 2000. Taking the men's recommendation, we can see that 50% of carbs equates to 1250 calories, 30% of protein equates to 750 calories and 20% of fat equates to 500 calories. Therefore, we now need to divide the 1250 calories from carbs by 4 (1 gram per 4 kcal) to get 312.5 grams of carbohydrates, divide 750 calories from protein (1 gram per 4 kcal) to get 187.5 grams of protein, and finally 500 calories from fat by 9 (1 gram per 9 kcal) to get 55.6 grams of fat. You can now see that the average healthy balanced diet when training based on 2500 calories per day should consist of 312.5 grams of carbohydrates, 187.5 grams of protein and 55.6 grams of fat.

As already stated, the basis of the diet should come from carbohydrates, particularly unrefined carbs like whole grain foods. When the body digests carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which is a simple sugar. Glucose creates the body's primary source of energy, which the bloodstream supplies to every cell in the body. Excessive glucose converts into a substance called glycogen, which is stored in the liver and muscle tissue. Once these glycogen stores are full, glucose starts to become stored as fat, this storage process however that requires a lot of energy. This glycogen is the most important energy source for the body during intense training. During exercise, the body uses the glucose stored in the blood as its main energy source by converting the stored glycogen back into glucose. Therefore, to increase the body's stores of glycogen you simply need to eat more carbohydrates. This is critical for those who train intensely for 60 to 90 minutes on a daily basis.

A meal high in carbohydrates should be consumed up to an hour before any training activity as studies show it can have a positive effect on performance. The exact timing depends on the individual as eating so soon before training can have a negative effect on some peoples glucose levels. Consuming sugary foods with a high glycaemic index prior to training is not advisable, it may give the body an immediate boost of energy, however the chances are the body will crash during exercise. Low GI carbohydrates (whole grain, oats) are ideal as they provide a sustained release of energy. Foods with a high glycaemic index are advisable within an hour after training to top up glycogen levels and support recovery, followed later by foods high in carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index.

Protein is the next most important ingredient when it comes to training, especially if the goal is to increase muscle mass. It plays a vital role in recovery and repair. The daily recommendation of protein intake is 1 to 2 grams of protein per kg of body mass for those undertaking sporting activities. It can be quite difficult to get adequate levels of protein into your daily diet, which is why protein supplements are so popular these days. An average protein shake can provide 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving. Too much protein however can be potentially dangerous to long-term health. Studies show that a diet high in protein only can put serious strain on the kidneys and compromise bone density.

In summary, whether you are a professional or amateur athlete, a weekend Sunday league player, or a dedicated daily gym goer, a well-balanced and adequate diet provides the fundamentals to improved performance. Carbohydrates should form the basis of any diet, and a diet too high in protein is not advisable. To improve energy levels, you can increase the amount of glycogen stored in the body through eating more carbohydrates.

Ben Wain wrote this article regarding the importance of diet and nutrition when training. He is a member of the My Training Supplements team, a sports nutrition UK comparison, diet and training advice site. Sign up for up to date supplement offers, reviews and more great advice to help your reach your diet and training goals.

Source: EzineArticles
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Intense Training


Adequate Diet


Calorie Intake


Daily Diet


Glycaemic Index


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