An Athlete's Diet

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When people think of athletics, whether it is football, wrestling, running, or some other sport; they think of strength, speed, agility, and of people who have worked out hard to get in great physical condition. We all realize that in order for someone to be at the top of their game, they must prepare their bodies. So athletes, to prepare for competition, participate in a number of different physical exercises, from weight lifting, to running, stretching, calisthenics, yoga, and more. What is often, and unfortunately overlooked however, is the indispensable role that nutrition plays in making the body ready for peak performance and recovery. Many people do not realize or think about this, despite the apparent axiomatic nature of the concept; said one expert, "make no mistake, for top (athletic) performance food is first" (Colgan, 1993). In this discussion I will explain what the athlete's body needs in terms of nutrition, and where he or she can hope to obtain it. Let us begin with how the body is fueled. The human body uses carbohydrate as the primary source of energy for sustained, strenuous physical activity. In fact, some fifty-percent of the energy your body uses comes from carbohydrates, specifically glucose, and its storage form, glycogen (Rady Rolfes, Pinna, and Whitney, 2006). That is the energy you are using while you exercise, while your body will burn more fat for energy when you are at rest. It is of utmost importance to make sure enough carbohydrate is included in your diet if you want to be a competitive athlete. Proper "carbohydrate loading" before exercise will decrease the perception of fatigue during extended exertion (Colgan 1993). That doesn't mean, however, that you only need carbohydrates before training, but rather, if you want to train at maximum efficiency, you need high quality carbohydrates throughout the day, every day. It is recommended that the athlete make sure to consume around 650 grams of carbohydrate per day(Colgan 1993). The...
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