A diet for a sports man should ideally contain more calories than those required by a regular person as the energy levels required by them is higher. A diet plan for sports people should have the right blend and proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat. This is crucial because the diet for sports performance should enable the sports professional to get the required amount of fuel to allow them to compete at their optimum levels. At the same time, a sports man should also be aware of those foods that are known to be unhealthy and leave them feeling full but devoid of energy. The diet plan for sports people should have an ideal mix of carbohydrates and protein.
Typically the calorie requirement of an individual depends on various factors such as age, gender and the lifestyle of the person.
The diet plan for sports people should allow for a higher intake of calories which should be around 3000 calories per day for men who are between 19 to 30 years of age and 2800 to 3000 calories for those who are between 31 to 50 years of age. Similarly, the diet plan for sports performance should include saturated fats rather than trans fats which are unhealthy and could result in weight gain. Some of the recommended sources of saturated or healthy fats are fatty fish such as mackerel or salmon, nuts and vegetable oils. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are also known to be beneficial in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol whereas trans fats and saturated fats are known to increase the levels of bad cholesterol.
The diet for a sportsman should also be rich in carbohydrates as they are the key source of fuel for the body. While deciding on the meal plan for a sports person, it is advisable to incorporate carbohydrates in the form of fruits and whole grains rather than refined carbs. Fruits and whole grains are known to be healthy sources of carbohydrates as they help in providing the body with the required amount of fiber and also help in regulating the blood sugar levels. Some of the sources of healthy carbohydrates are beans, fruits, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread and brown rice which are known to provide an individual with higher energy levels, thereby allowing them to perform at higher levels.
A diet plan for sports people should also include plenty of protein rich foods as proteins are known to be the building blocks for the development of muscles and the overall skeletal development. Some of the lean sources of protein are turkey, chicken, beans, fish etc.
The diet plan for a sports person should also include various nutrients for sports and fitness such as iron, minerals, vitamins and calcium which should be ideally derived from their natural sources. Vitamins and minerals are essential as they help in keeping the person energetic and also in strengthening the immune system. The diet for a sports person should also include the consumption of plenty of liquids, especially fresh drinking water. This helps in preventing dehydration and also keeps the person feeling refreshed. Inadequate intake of water could result in dehydration which in turn is known to adversely affect the sports performance of the individual and in some serious cases may even cause the person to collapse or even lead to death. Hence, sports professionals are always recommended to carry water or fresh juices with them and keep sipping on these from time to time.
Sports persons are also not recommended to consume high fat milk products or a high intake of carbohydrates just before their sports performance as this will result in them feeling too full to perform well.