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Sports Nutrition 

Jennifer Latham Robinson

Sports nutrition is applied in most sports training, however it is most dominant in strength sports (for example weight lifting and bodybuilding) and endurance sports (for example cycling, running, triathlon).


Nutrition for anaerobic exercise


After weight training, the body is depleted of glycogen stores. This creates a rise in Glycogen synthetase, which allows for a greater amount of glycogen synthesis for a period after training. To compensate for this glycogen depletion, athletes will often take in a large amount of carbohydrates in the period immediately following exercise. Typically, high glycemic index carbohydrates are preferred for their ability to raise insulin levels, thus increasing rate of nutrient storage. Recently, High Molecular Weight carbohydrates have come to prominence for their low osmolality, and potential for quicker, and greater glycogen restoration.


For the purpose of protein synthesis, amino acids are ingested as well. Studies also show that there is a greater rate of glycogen synthesis when amino acids are included with the ingested carbohydrate.


Nutrition for aerobic exercise


After the aerobic exercise it is necessary to fill the glycogen stores in the muscles. A liquid source of fast carbohydrates and protein in ratio 4:1 are generally recommended for optimal recovery.


Antioxidants are essential to maintaining cellular health in the body during the periods of high oxidative stress that occur during aerobic exercise. They can be consumed in the diet (commonly found in tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables) or are easily found in a wide range of nutritional supplements. Superoxide dismutase is a particularly effective enzyme with strong clinical support for enhanced athletic performance, especially when bound with gliadin to form glisodin.


Goals of sport nutrition


Some of the main goals of sport nutrition are to:


§          prepare athlete for performance or training (before)

§          maintain the level of performance or training (during)

§          help recovery from performance or training (after)


In some sports, nutrition is also necessary in maintaining a body aesthetic (bodybuilding) or body weight (cycling).

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