Nutrition Assignment

Explain to the athlete the ingredient of their diet. Give details of macro and micro nutrients and supplementation.

For an athlete a well balanced diet is essential, they need all types of macro and micro nutrients to help fuel exercise and help repair/restore the body back to pre-exercise state. Macro nutrients are needed in large quantities and come in the form of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Micro nutrients are needed in much smaller quantities like vitamins and minerals.

“A well balanced diet will normally comprise of 60% carbohydrates, 25% fats and 15% proteins” Ref - (Physical Education and Sports Studies) but will vary for elite athletes. Carbohydrates are basically sugar and starch and are broken down into glucose molecules, when used as energy carbohydrates become fuel for exercise in the lactic acid and aerobic system when glycotic enzymes enable the breakdown of glucose to produce energy for the re-synthesis of ATP. If it is not used it is converted to glycogen through glycogenisis and stored in the liver and muscles. Carbohydrates come in two categories, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates come in the form of monosaccharide i.e. glucose and fructose and disaccharides i.e. maltose and sucrose, these are easily digested and passed quickly into the bloodstream; examples of foods are fruit, sugar and sweets. Carbohydrates taken in the form of starch are more beneficial to us than the foods which contain large amounts of simple or refined sugar; this is because the starchy foods contain many more vitamins and minerals compared to sugary foods. Ref – (Sport Examined) The other category is complex carbohydrates or polysaccharides found in grains and vegetables. Functions of carbohydrates include protein sparing, fuel for the central nervous system, energy and help to metabolise fat.

Proteins are another macro-nutrient and are made up of amino acids and stored in the small intestine. There are essential and non essential amino acids, there are 20 essential amino acids which the body must get from the diet as the body cannot make them itself i.e. valine, leucine and isoleucine which the body can use as fuel if glycogen stores are low. There are 12 non essential amino acids which the body can make from other amino acids. Every function in the living cell depends on proteins; these include energy, actin and myosin for muscle contraction, cell structure, transport, and chemical regulation. Proteins are also receptors for hormones and are contained in enzymes which are the catalysts for all biochemical reactions. An elite athlete proteins requirements can be summarised as 1.2 – 1.6g of protein for every kg you weigh. Ref – (The Complete Guide to Strength Training) Foods rich in protein include fish and red meats.

Fats are the other macro nutrient, there are many different types of fats the main types are triglycerides-simple fats which is about 95% of fat found in the body. These include saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in foods such as dairy, sunflower oils and vegetable oils. There are also phospholipids – compound fats to do with carrying fats to the liver, derived fats which are mainly cholesterol e.g. egg yolks and good for synthesising vitamin D. All fats are broken down into essential fatty acids which must come from the diet as the body cannot produce them itself and glycerol, these then combine with other nutrients to help produce energy.

“Of all the nutrients water is the most important, it makes up more than 60% of your body weight and is vital to all cells.” Ref – (The Complete Guide to Strength Training) Conditioned athletes can store and burn energy in a shorter time; so the body releases more heat, requires cooling and so requires more water. “As a guideline drink 500 ml of fluid 2 hours before you train, then another 125-250 ml immediately before.” Ref- (The Complete Guide to Strength Training)

Micro nutrients are vitamins and minerals. “Vitamins are organic compounds which help to regulate the many chemical reactions that continuously take place in the body.” Ref – (Sport Examined)

Minerals are “the basic elements which are found in the soil and the air, they are essential for life.” Ref – (Sport Examined) Minute quantities of these are needed; they have to be obtained from the food we eat. There are 12 key vitamins and minerals including