Friday, 6 December 2013

Sports Nutrition, High Protein versus High Carbohydrates Diets

When it comes to sports, people have different views on what types of nutrition are best to help them in their physical activities.  One of the biggest questions sports people have is about whether they should be having a high protein diet or a high carbohydrate diet?  Well, according to sports nutrition experts, the type of physical activity you are doing and the intensity of it, will determine which sports nutrition diet is best suited to you.


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A HIGH PROTEIN DIET IS MORE SUITED TO BODY-BUILDERS AND STRENGTH-TRAINERS

If you are interested in body building and trying to build muscle or strength training, then a high protein diet may be more suited to your needs, although you should still include a low to moderate amount of carbohydrates.

So why do body builders need more protein?  Protein is required by the body to fuel muscle growth and will therefore help to build up the muscles.  However some carbohydrates are still required by body builders and weight lifters as the glycogen stored from carbohydrates in the body and muscles is required to help meet the physical demands of muscle contractions while lifting weights. 


A HIGH CARBOHYDRATES DIET IS MORE SUITED TO ENDURANCE ATHLETES

If not needed immediately by the body for energy, any intake of carbohydrates is stored in the body as energy (glycogen).  A high carbohydrate diet therefore is favoured more by endurance athletes, such as long-distance runners.  These types of athletes will benefit from the stored energy to keep them going for longer.


ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPORTS PEOPLE AND SPORTS NUTRITION

Bear in mind that any increase in protein or carbohydrates should be done gradually and consumed in a healthy way.  For example, if you wish to increase your carbohydrate intake, then healthy wholegrain foods like brown bread, brown rice, wholegrain pasta are obviously better for you than refined white foods.

It’s important in all cases to maintain a balanced diet and incorporate a variety of foods from all of the food groups.

It is also advisable to wait between 1-4 hours after you have eaten before performing any exercise to give your body time to digest the food properly. The bigger the meal, the longer it will take to digest.

Drinking plenty of fluids is also important to keep your body hydrated as you exercise, as fluids are easily lost through sweating.


NUTRITION & SUPPLEMENTS FOR SPORTS PEOPLE

A high variety of supplements are available for sports people, athletes and body-builders to help boost their stamina, strength, overall performance and recovery.  Supplements and other types of sports nutrition include:

·         Multivitamins/minerals
·         Protein
·         Whey Protein (contains high amino acids and mix of globular proteins, said to help increase lean  body mass and strength)
·         Creatine (helps to supply energy to all cells in the body, particularly the muscles)
·         Caffeine
·         Energy drinks

N.B.  It’s always advisable to consult your doctor, health care professional or sports nutrition expert before changing your protein or carbohydrate intake or taking any sports nutrition supplements.

Prices/discounts indicated are correct at time of writing/publishing.  E&OE.





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