OMY! Sports News

Sports Nutrition. What are we talking about?

Proper nutrition, nutrition for weight loss, healthy nutrition. These are popular topics, not related to sports. They normally revolve around healthy lifestyle, smoothies, plant milk, protein pancakes, spinach and avocado salads, quinoa bowls, vegan donuts, chia puddings, and more.

However, in sports, we are more interested in something different - how to load up and drink enough. And so that it will be fast and on-the-go, (on the run / on a bike), efficient (to feel an immediate surge of energy) and also convenient as possible (to fit in your pocket). Sports nutrition is more about coffee and caffeine gels, carb gels and bars, bananas, pasta, oats, salt pills, amino acids, rehydron, and even Coca-Cola, Red Bull, and other sugar-containing drinks.

As we can see, those two concepts do not have much in common.

Another important difference is the amount of calories. Healthy lifestyle nutrition often implies counting calories not to overeat. While in sports, it is vital not to ‘undereat’. An average sports enthusiast consumes at least 3000-3500 calories / day. It is 50% more than a regular healthy lifestyle. And one must eat up all these 3–3.5 thousand. Once the consumption falls to 2000 kcal – one can forget about sports. To be malnourished by 10-15% and “5 out of 5” at the same time look can only be possible sitting on a chair.

People who are actively involved in sports are concerned about the following questions:

- What to eat when you always want to eat? ⚡️

- What to eat before, during and after training and on the race day?⚡️

- What and how much to drink before and after training and competitions?⚡️

- How to nourish yourself in hot weather or in the mountains?⚡️

- How to prevent leg cramps via diet?⚡️

- How to lose some weight before the start and at the same time stay fit?⚡️

- How to load up with complex (long)carbs before the start?⚡️

- What heart rate allows eating, and on what HR is it better to only drink, and why? ⚡️

Let's start simple and outline the basic rules of sports nutrition:

1. Athletes' diet has to be correspondent with the level of calorie expenditure. Don't try to eat 2,000 calories while spending 3,500…or soon there will be no trace of your sports achievements.

2. The main source of energy in sports is carbohydrates. They should make up most of your daily diet.

3. During the competition, you will not be able to "eat" as much as you spend. You should have a “reserve” in your body (and not in your pockets).
4. The most effective “reserved” source of energy for the body are fats (not to be confused with body fat). Teaching the body to employ them is not easy. This requires special training - a combination of physical activity and diet.

5. Once your heart rate hits <150 beats, it is better not to eat, but to drink. In this mode, there is not enough blood coming to intestines to break down the food, as most of the blood is directed to muscles. Coke or Red Bull is your choice here – these are the 2 most effective sources of energy for runners.

6. Gels and other sports nutrition take some time getting used to. Do not experiment with them at the first start. This can end badly for your stomach.
7. Loss of fluids and salts during the race cannot be compensated for and restored during the race itself - no matter how much you drink. This can lead to spasms and convulsions. Learn to store fluid and salt in the body in advance.

8. Magic words about "long carbs" do not solve every problem over long-distance running. You have to teach your body to consume the right foods in training: in different modes of intensity, weather conditions and altitude.

It can be the case that we only made you more confused, or not. We will be gradually breaking down the topics one by one.

Your virtual AI coach OMY! Sports