Received date: February 12, 2016; Accepted date: February 15, 2016; Published date: February 18, 2016
Citation: Bonfanti N, Jimenez-Saiz SL (2016) Nutritional Recommendations for Sport Team Athletes. Sports Nutr Ther 1: e102. doi: 10.4172/2473-6449.1000e102
Copyright: © 2016 Jimenez-Saiz SL, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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In present days, consistent scientific evidence is confirming that nutritional intake has an essential role in optimizing training and competition performance in athletes. When nutritional practices are adequate, athletes can exploit their maximum talent performance, while promoting a suitable recovery process with a lower risk of disease and sport injuries [1-3]. Therefore, in order to address these issues, it is important to clearly define all the nutritional parameters which optimize the athletes feeding practices: energy intake, macro and micronutrients consumption and hydration practices.
To begin, it will be necessary to estimate the individuals total daily energy requirement, its mean, the calories the athlete will expend and if any changes in body composition are required. It will also be important to obtain a negative or positive energetic balance for fat loss or muscle mass gain respectively [4-6], through a progressive process carried out alongside a sports nutritionist [1,5,7]. In any case, the first step will be to estimate the resting metabolic rate (RMR) value of the athlete by using the Cunningham equation , which is the best recommended option for athletes, or the Harris-Benedict equation as a second option, when lean mass data is not known . Progressively, it will be necessary to add the calories spent in training and physical activities (thermic effect of activities) while taking into account the thermic effect of food. The numerous recommended methods for athletic population are described on the specific scientific bibliography [9,10].
It is known that carbohydrates (CHO) intake is essential for an optimum adaptation to several stress signals imposed by repeated sessions of training. An adequate timing and amount of this nutrient is one of the key elements for muscle and hepatic glycogen recovery. Sport nutritionists recommend a diet based on CHO for sports where it works as the mean fuel during exercise, as it occurs in majority of team sports . CHO is the primary energy fuel for both, aerobic and anaerobic pathway and is the key nutrient for muscle contraction during exercise in intermittent intensity exercises that characterize virtually almost all team sports (e.g.: basketball, football, handball, etc.). The rate of utilization and exhaustion of CHO is different for each sport depending largely on training duration and intensity as well as upon the degree of hydration and the current training level of athletes . Moreover, the availability of carbohydrates for the central nervous system becomes a limiting factor for cognitive performance in these kind of sports [12,13]. For all these issues, the nutritional recommendations for carbohydrate intake should be before, during and after training or competition and during the recovery period throughout the entire day .
Daily protein requirement of athletes is higher than sedentary population [1,15,16] since both, aerobic and resistance training is associated with the rupture of muscle fibers and due to a serious increment of leucine oxidation [17,18] . Moreover, an athlete will more than likely need to consume a higher level of protein for deficit risk prevention, since this nutrient could help the athlete maintain a high level of function and obtain positive adaptations induced by training . Furthermore, protein requirements cannot be generalized as well as carbohydrates since it seems that the amount of protein needed is dependent on the individuals training status. As an example, trained athletes would need a lower amount of protein per day in contrast to untrained individuals however, in periods of high load training and/or high intensity training, as with high performance athletes, they would need to increase their consumption [15,16]. In addition, the amount of protein needed to enhance sport performance is discussed under the perspective of different types of exercise (endurance, high intermittent intensity or strength exercise) and training programs . When energy intake is enough to cover calorie expenditure, the muscle mass of athletes can remain stable between a wide range of protein consumption . On the other hand, high protein intake could be advantageous to cause muscle hypertrophy. However, scientific literature does not show convincing results about the consumption of more than 2-3 g of proteins/kg weight as necessary for athletes, even when muscle mass gain is the objective . There are other concomitant factors such as timing intake in relation to training, energy balance, carbohydrates availability and amino acids composition of ingested proteins. All these factors have a key role for the use of dietary amino acids in protein synthesis, avoiding their oxidation to meet energy requirements [20,21]. Moreover, protein metabolism during and after exercise is also affected by sex, age and the intensity, duration and type of training [1,16].
In regards to fat intake, this is the second source of energy for exercising muscle after CHO. However, as opposed to CHO storage, the availability of fat during exercise is unlimited in almost all athletes. Additionally, it is known that intramuscular triglycerides can act as an important potentially source of energy during aerobic exercise, but it is unknown their real influence on athletic performance [22,23]. The fat intake recommendation for athletes is within 20-35% of the total daily energy intake (TDEI) since it has been shown that intakes lower than 20% (when fat loss it is not the objective) or higher than 35% of TDEI, does not have benefits on sport performance [1,3]. Table 1 summarizes the nutritional recommendations for sport team athletes that were discuss above along with a brief guideline for micronutrients consumption and fluid intake.
|Daily Recommendations||Punctual intake related to training and competition|
7-12 g/kg Weight
|Previous meals: Breakfast 2-4 h before training/competition:
Meals rich in CHO which enables to reach the daily recommendation
|The last 2 h before exercise: 30 g CHO/h minimum|
|During training (lasting >1 h) and competition: Solutions 6% CHO (6 g/100 ml) or 500-1000 ml/h isotonic beverage (30-60 g CHO/h) or solutions 2-3% CHO with addition of solid/semisolids foods rich in CHO until reaching 30-60g/h|
|Immediately post-exercise: 1 g/kg weight post-exercise (when the aim is to replenish muscle glycogen at maximum levels: e.g.: two training session in the same day) or 0.8 g/Kg weight (when the aim is to stimulate muscle fiber recovery: e.g.: hypertrophy) (no more than 30 min. after)|
1,4-1,7 g/kg weight
|Immediately post-exercise: 20-25 g ó 0.25 g/kg weight along with CHO (no more than 30 min. after)
To distribute, if possible, in 0.25 g/kg weight at different meals, every 3-4 h throughout the day including proteins that contain all the essential amino acids and rich in leucine.
20-35% of total daily energy intake
|Distributed during the different meals throughout the day, taking into consideration to not overload with fat on the meals nearest to exercise.|
|Vitamins and minerals
To meet recommendation for general population as a minimum level (RDI, 2011)
|Ensure the supply of micronutrients through a varied diet rich in vegetable, fruits, white meats, whole grain, non-fat dairy and non-fried vegetable oil. This allowsmeeting optimum levels in general.
To consider supplementation in individual cases of deficiency or risk of one or more micronutrients.
To follow ACSM (2007) recommendations
|Weigh athletes before and after training and competition and measure fluid intake during exercise for determining an individual recommendation of fluid.|
Table 1: Daily Recommendations for team sports athletes.
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