Food And Nutrition For Leading A Sportsman’s LifeBy
Doctors propound that sound health is the result of a favorable combination of food and exercise. Holistic nutrition acts a medicine for the human body, in which the right kinds of foods can help the body heal itself.
Game day meal plan for athletes
Food is even more important for athletes, especially those involved in strenuous games like table tennis, as performance is directly related to their level of energy.
It is important to understand that the energy and nutritional requirements of a sports player are not the same as that of a regular person uninvolved in regular vigorous sporting activities.
Throughout their career, each and every table tennis athlete should follow a detailed meal plan which has been prepared in consultation with a certified nutritionist.
A professional table tennis athlete, or one in training, is required to adopt healthy food habits right from the beginning of his career. Every player should maintain a well-disciplined routine both during and outside of practice hours.
At times you may face a situation wherein the nutritionist recommends food items that you do not particularly like but are deemed necessary. Discuss tweaking with the list a little with her, replacing such items with things you find more palatable. This way you are much more likely to stick to the routine or game day meal plan.
The important point to keep in mind is completing the nutritional requirements for the day according to the meal plan.
Meal plan for table tennis athletes
There are a few key ideas to keep in mind when preparing a nutrition plan for an athletic lifestyle. Each meal should contain as much wholesome and organic ingredients as possible.
The calorie intake recommended for each spread should be strictly adhered to for maximum benefit. According to a research report published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine on practical recommendations for the nutritional requirements for athletes, the minimum daily intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are valued at 6 to 10 grams, 1.6 grams and 2 gram per kg of body weight per day, respectively.
- Carbohydrate: Contrary to the belief held by certain existing fitness frameworks that condemn carbohydrates as a cause of weight gain, they are the primary and immediate source of energy in the human body. They are fairly easy to digest and provide a quick bout of nutrition for the body to keep running on.
Carbohydrates can be categorized into different classes based on their ease of digestibility.
- Low Glycemic Index: This type of sugar takes longer to break down, thus acting as a slow burning fuel that keeps on providing energy for a long time. A few popular low glycemic foods include oatmeal, quinoa, whole grain pasta, yogurt and fresh fruit.
- High glycemic index: This type of sugar is easy to break down and offers a quick burst of energy. Some popular items on this list are glucose, sweet candy, honey and sports drinks.
- Balanced diet: Your meal plan should contain a mixture of several types of foods, varying according to the time of day and your unique nutritional requirements.
Foods on the low glycemic index scale are appropriate for consumption during the major meals of the day, and especially during breakfast. These are extremely important for the synthesis of glycogen to be stored in the muscles. Foods higher on the scale are much more useful if consumed shortly before practice hours, as a quick supply of energy can shrug off lethargy and help you perform better.
- Protein: The next important checkmark on the nutrition list of a table tennis athlete, protein is extremely essential for the repair and growth of bones and muscles.
Due to the nature of its function, many people involved in sports and fitness are under the impression that a higher content of protein in their meals can aid in the building of a lean and muscular figure useful for vigorous physical activity. But according to global authorities on sports nutrition, protein is required only in a moderate amount in the body.
Common sources of protein useful for inclusion in an athlete’s meal plan include eggs, fish, baked beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, soy milk, lentils, kidney beans and low-fat cheese.
- Sources of protein: Meat is one of the best sources of protein, and lean beef, chicken and pork are some of the suggested varieties. According to an article on “Nutrition for Table Tennis players” published by USA Table Tennis, the recommended quantities of meat for athletes are 1 to 2 grams per day for children aged 9 to 13 years, 2 grams (for females) and 3 grams (for males) for teens aged 14 to 18 years and 2 and 3 grams for female and males, respectively for adults aged 19 to 50 years.
The vigorous daily practice of any sport leads to tearing of the muscles and minor injuries in several places that may go unnoticed. Consumption of the recommended amount of protein every day helps the body to heal and restore lost strength and energy in the muscles.
- Fat: Fat is an extremely vital nutrient in the everyday meal plan of an athlete. It is essential for the storage and transport of several vitamins throughout the body. Fat also acts as a cushioning agent and protects delicate internal organs.
Common sources of fat include olive oil, coconut oil, butter, beef, pork, egg yolk, avocados and fish oil.
Fat is an extremely rich source of energy. It contains a large number of long-chained chemical compounds that require a considerable amount of time to burn completely. Thus it is a useful, slow-burning nutrient that offers a steady supply of energy.
Excess consumption of fat can lead to its storage and resultant weight gain. Athletes are advised to strictly adhere to the amount recommended by their nutritionist.
- Water and fluids: Owing to the huge loss of water and salts from the body in the form of sweat, table tennis athletes are required to consume large amounts of fluids throughout the day for restoration. A lack of water can negatively affect the coordination and blood pressure levels of the body, leading to undue stress. Water, sports gels and drinks are a few of the popular fluids advised for consumption.