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What Is the Relationship between Nutrition and Athletic Performance?

By Troy Holmes
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The correlation between nutrition and athletic performance has been evaluated for many decades with multiple case studies that have shown the importance of nutrition in athletes. Good nutrition is important for all humans but this becomes paramount for athletic performance. Peek athletic performance requires extreme conditioning with extraordinary stress on muscles, bones and organs. Proper nutrition is critical for athletes to grow and recover from this conditional stress.

There are six fundamental nutritional elements that should be considered when focusing on nutrition and athletic performance. These are carbohydrates, protein, fats, hydration, vitamins and minerals. With proper monitoring and control over these elements, most athletes will notice considerable improvement in their athletic performance.

Given the importance of nutrition to athletic performance, many athletes benefit from working one on one with licensed sports nutritionists. Sports nutritionists specialize in reviewing an athlete's specific type of nutritional needs and can formulate the best diet plan for the athlete to achieve healthy results.

Sports nutrition is the art of balancing the fundamental building ingredients for supreme athletic performance. The proper maintenance of weight, water intake and diet will ensure high performing athletes achieve their desired goals. While most athletes expect their bodies to achieve goals that are not typically necessary for normal people, good nutritional intake should always be considered a fundamental building block for a healthy life.

Carbohydrates are well known as the energy food for the human body but too many carbohydrates cause an unnecessary storage of fat. High performance athletes should play close attention to their daily carbohydrate intake as the demand of athletics may impact the immune system and blood sugar within the liver. The intake of additional carbohydrates will help to regulate this for athletes who require long duration of endurance.

Protein and fat are another two elements that should be monitored closely when considering nutrition and athletic performance. For optimal performance athletes should consume enough calories. This will allow the body sufficient nutrients to repair muscles and recovery as necessary based on training.

Hydration is one of the most underestimated factors with nutrition and athletic performance. Endurance athletes are most susceptible to water loss and should. These athletes must monitor appropriate water intake to combat dehydration effects of high-intensity training.

Additional consumption of supplements, vitamins and minerals is typically unnecessary, provided that an athlete is following a well balanced sports nutrition diet. The key to nutrition and athletic performance is moderation and control of the daily consumption of required foods. With the additional stress that athletes put on the nervous system, it is critical to ensure that the minimum vitamins and minerals are consumed and this should be done with proper control over daily diet.

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