In sports, the success of an athlete is determined by numbers of factors, some of which include motivation, training, talent, resistance to injury among others. This means accomplished athletes need to pay keen attention to every factor that influences their CrossFit training performance. Nutrition is a key element in the preparation of an athlete for any competition as well as routine training. The foods athletes choose affect performance directly hence they need to be aware of their nutritional strategies and the foods that will help them meet their goals.
In order to have a broad and comprehensive understanding of nutrition as it pertains to athletes, the discussion below has been divided into different topical issues.
There are three main food groups that athletes should include in their diet; energy giving foods, proteins as well as vitamins and minerals. The energy requirements of an athlete can be broken down into several components including energy for baseline metabolic needs, energy for growth as well as energy for physical activity. In order to meet the energy that is needed for all these processes, therefore, athletes’ diet must contain sufficient energy giving foods. Athletes require carbohydrates for training and recovery as well as for energy during competitions.
The protein requirements depend on the type of exercises and sport the athlete is engaged in. For instance, in strength training, dietary proteins help in enabling the muscles to synthesize certain proteins required to enhance performance. The contribution of proteins in the manufacture of new tissue, repair of worn out tissue and regulating metabolism and the immune system through hormones is critical. CrossFitters should include a high-quality protein diet soon after CrossFit exercise to help in muscle protein synthesis.
Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals help the body in regulating metabolic processes by acting as enzyme co-factors. Some vitamins such as E and K have antioxidant properties which help in mopping up excess radicals hence reducing inflammation during exercises and competitions.
Nutritional Needs of Special Populations
In athletics, the needs of young athletes and female athletes vary nutrition-wise depending on whether they are training or in active competition. The diet needs of young athletes must be observed both before and during competitions so as to minimize gastrointestinal upsets and dehydration. Avoiding solid foods for about 2 to 3 hours before competition helps, however, the intake of fluids should be encouraged throughout. Because of active growth and the effects of adolescence, young athletes must be given the necessary nutritional support which includes energy, protein and vitamin intake.
Female athletes have lower energy requirements because of their low muscle mass and body mass as well as a lighter training load. Their diets should contain lots of iron and less of fats.
Types of Workouts
Depending on the type of training an athlete is participating in, their CrossFit diet intake changes. For instance, strength training which includes bodybuilding, powerlifting, throwing events, as well as weightlifting, requires a high intake of energy giving foods and adequate high-quality proteins.
Power sports which include rowing, swimming, kayaking and track cycling requires moderate to high levels of carbohydrates intake, sufficient fluids, and high-quality proteins.
Endurance sports including triathlon, marathon and road cycling requires athletes to have the ability to sustain performance over long periods. The diet here should be rich in carbohydrates to fuel the training phrase, fluids to prevent dehydration as well as high-quality proteins to promote muscle adaptation.
In addition to the above sports, special consideration should also be made for aesthetic and weight class training such as gymnastics, figure skating, combative sports, and diving. Carbohydrates help athletes in this category to meet the energy needs for training and competition while fluids help to prevent dehydration.
KUNAL JHAVERI | 14 Jan 18