Nutrition & Sports: The Keys to Optimal Performance

Posted by admin January 19th, 2015

All athletes strive to compete at the top of their game but, unbeknownst to many of them, their performance relies on their nutritional status.  Athletes with inadequate diets and unaware of  their specific metabolic rates may have insufficient fuel for workouts, nutrient deficiencies that can lead to illness or fatigue, a decrement in bone growth and maintenance, and may not reach their potential for muscle growth. All of these will be reflected in their performance, regardless of their determination.

Despite this recognition young athletes need to pay greater attention to their fuel consumption, recent research suggests that many youths struggle with energy balance, experiencing an energy deficit or surplus. We are all too familiar with this energy surplus, known as overweight or obesity, but that crisis is not the focus here.  The concern is many young athletes require greater amounts of nutrients but remain uninformed or unconcerned about their nutrition needs or simply feel powerless to improve their nutritional status. Young athletes need help to overcome these problems.

The number of young athletes in the United States is increasing and estimates are that approximately 30 to 45 million youths aged 6 to 18 participate in some form of athletics. These young athletes turn to coaches, parents, teammates, and health professionals for nutrition guidance. They can guide athletes to be leaner, stronger, and able to withstand the rigors of training and competition. They can offer superior advice because they are more cognizant of research findings and are equipped with clinical and counseling skills to aid in a young athlete’s quest for improvement. By helping athletes improve their diet, they can eliminate obstacles to better health and nutrition and thereby help athletes push their limits and reach their full potential.

Nutrition professionals can aid young athletes in their quest for victory by recognizing that children and adolescents generally need more calories and protein per pound of body weight than many adults. It is a well-known fact that children need this extra energy to grow, fully develop, and thrive. Nutrient needs further elevate and reach their peak during adolescence. Potential differences in nutrition needs between a typical child or adolescent and an athletic child or adolescent likely exist.  Not all nutitional needs and metabolic rates are alike.  New studies of energy balance in young athletes have been published, and conservative recommendations have been made. But self-reported diet records of young athletes often indicate that intake of energy, carbohydrate, and select micronutrients may be below recommended levels. They must be aware that these deficiencies exist and are especially apparent in athletes involved in sports that focus on body composition and appearance, but lack awareness for influences on strength and endurance.

Residual nutritional levels of macro & micronutrients can now be measured by new science based technology.  Measurements are based on an individual’s residual levels measured at the cellular level where cell replications occur and these data are compared in a moving average data base of more than 500,000 others.  This results in comparing and documenting an individuals residual storage levels inside their body. Adjustments in nutrition and supplementation can be made on an individual’s real needs based on their metabolic rates instead of assuming all athletes burn at the same rate. Welcome to the next generation of athletic training by benchmarking and addressing nutritional deficiences for optimizing training & performance.

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