August 13, 2017

SPORTSTAR- The Genesis of Eating for performance

The human Body is a machine. When a machine is operated at full strength it needs the right fuel, the right maintenance and care. Similarly when an athlete plays a sport they operate in the realm of highest effort day in and day out. This culminates at a peak during matches and competitions. So the right rest, the right training and ultimately the RIGHT FUEL results in a better performing individual.
The Human body is designed to be put through the GRIND. However modern day athletes have grueling if not Killing schedules that abuse the body into submission where ultimately Injury or NO form is the death of an athlete.
When working with serious athletes, Olympic champions and record breakers, I see that Food or their meals are driven by love or culture from the home. Unfortunately most players do not realise that their calories and nutrients requirements of Protein, carbohydrate and fats; not to mention the Vitamins and the minerals may not reach the optimum levels on a daily basis. Its important to note, Nutrition for an athlete has to Be BANG On and one cannot expect to eat well for one part of the week and then slack off on other days.
It’s a grueling discipline. First Learn What is Your CALORIE BURN or expenditure through the day. Then Understand your Food and what foods have protein carb or fat component and then HOW much of that food you need to consume over a period of 6-8 meals in a day.
The basics are Carbohydrates which are the primary source of ENERGY or fuel in the human body. 1 gram of carbohydrate will give you 4 calories. If you eat a bowl of 100 gms of Rice you get 400 calories. Now if you run for 1 hour at a slow pace you burn approx.. 400 calories. SO KNOWING your burn rate or calorie Expenditure and then planning your calorie Intake via carbohydrates is crucial to your energy levels.
Proteins are the building blocks of Muscle. To grow, to maintain muscle mass, an athlete requires 1.2 to 2 GMs per kg bodyweight. For example a 60 kg athlete needs 60X1.5gms = 90 gms of protein. This now needs to be split over 6 meals of the day and therefore one needs 15 gms of protein in each meal of the day.
The Fat, a topic of controversy is making a huge comeback  in the sports world. NO longer is it ignored or asked to be reduced. 1 gm of fat gives an athlete 9 calories and in conditioned sports people nearly 30% of the days total calories can come from fat. For example if you need 3000 calories per day, then 30% of that will be 900 calories or 100 gms of fat in the diet over the 6 meals per day.

The Key to SPORTS NUTRITION is knowing your OUTPUT and then getting a nutrition coach to work with you to design your input requirements. I see athletes investing in the best of equipment that adorns the body or their game. However their own BODY’s functions are treated with little or no understanding of how to eat for performance.
LESSON 1: Learn about different carb, protein and fat based food. Learn how much you need to eat and when is the best time to eat that food.
Example: A Chocolate milkshake is a perfect recovery drink. It should not be had before training. The best time is immediately within 15 mins of finishing your training or game.

When Shikhar Dhawan, went to play on his test debut, he scored a double century. He batted with focus for over 29 hrs. The secret was hydrating more frequently not with plain water but with a sports electrolyte drink and allowing himself to munch on a few dry fruits in between water breaks. This ensured that his brain was kept hydrated so he could focus. His muscles received the much needed glucose because after playing for 2 hrs your energy reserves drop and this forces human error due to lack of focus. THE KEY is to convince your muscles to get some nutrition, NOT TOO MUCH , NOT LITTLE. Most athletes forget to Hydrate. You are 60% plus made up of water. When you effectively learn how to feed your muscles and brains, you allow your Body to go the extra mile to scoring 200 plus runs. Shikhar Dhawan today knows hydrating is the key to a long innings. This practice is not only for matches but even in practice and at the GYM. Finally a well hydrated muscle will be less prone to injury.

Ryan Fernando is an Award Winning Celebrity Sports Nutrition Coach & Chief Nutritionist at QUA NUTRITION Signature Clinics

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