Certainly for sports enthusiasts, one of the best and eagerly awaited seasons is the Olympics.
Especially the Winter Olympics have a large audience. It is there that athletes are seen to compete and show the best of their abilities and skills.
For most people it is logical to be amazed by the activities and habits that athletes follow, among which their eating habits.
- Olympic athletes push physical limits, but what limits humans?
Athletes Energy and Nutrient Recommendations
Daily energy and nutrient recommendations for athletes depend on the sport or activity they perform. In general, they should consume more food than the average person due to the constant caloric expenditure used in training.
On average, the usual recommendations for a common man are between 2400 and 2800 Kcal per day, while for women they are between 1800 and 2200 Kcal.
Factors such as age, gender, height, weight and physical activity intervene among others. Since an Olympian requires many hours of training, his energy and nutrient recommendations are higher.
Olympic athlete diet
Olympic athletes usually have an excellent planning of their meals, since they must be frequent and according to the day’s workouts, being before and after them, at certain times, in order to meet their energy requirements and nutrients to obtain optimal physical conditions.
Breakfast, key in the athlete’s diet
To start the day, breakfast is a fundamental meal to obtain the necessary energy to be able to carry out a workout in most exercise routines.
Some foods that are included in the Olympic athlete’s breakfast are foods with lean proteins (eggs, poultry, among others), low-fat dairy and whole grain cereals.
Athletes who focus on high performance can target a higher amount of complex carbohydrates, as these help them have more energy. On the other hand, proteins help the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
Other considerations that athletes follow are eating the right amounts and choosing times based on their training, their hunger levels, and doing so without overdoing it.
It has been seen that coffee is a great ally of athletes in adequate amounts, it can provide stimulation and less feeling of effort and also improves alertness, among other attributes.
In turn, constant hydration is essential throughout the day. Before, during and after training water plays a crucial role, however, after training you can opt for electrolytes and carbonated drinks to replace the minerals lost in sweating.
How athletes meet their energy and nutrient requirements
Without a doubt, an Olympic athlete will be informed about how to eat a proper diet. It generally has the support of a specialist such as a nutritionist or sports doctor.
Supplements in the athlete’s diet
Some supplements such as caffeine or creatinine can be used for high intensity sports training, intense physical activity such as a marathon runner’s training, or weight lifting.
However, a balanced diet with adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, protein foods, vegetables and fruits can meet the energy and energy requirements required for the physical activity or sport to be performed.
-Caffeine as a supplement for athletes
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers that 400 mg of caffeine daily can be safe, however many supplements can exceed this amount in a single serving so it is important to always be prescribed by a Sports Doctor.
-Creatine supplements for athletes
Creatine supplementation may be recommended for athletes that involve muscular strength such as weight lifting or other high intensity sports such as soccer or basketball.
The International Society for Sports Nutrition recommends consuming it to certain athletes. Safe doses should be prescribed by a sports doctor.
Since dietary supplements for physical training are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) for their healthy consumption and effectiveness you should consult with a specialized doctor before incorporating them into your exercise routine and thus being able to discuss if there is any potential contradiction if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
Remember that if you do rigorous exercise or training, it is advisable to consult a professional for a personalized meal plan and obtain better results.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).