In every sport, it is mandatory that all the athletes eat the right foods and train well. This is for the purpose of making them strong, as well as fit to engage in their various sporting activities. Performance is improved by the food that is consumed by them, and this means it must have all the needed nutrients. Most times, the athletes are involved in rigorous activities that make them burn and lose many calories. They are constantly exposed to sporting events, frequent workouts, and competitions, which affects their bodies. Sporting performance is improved by regular practice, but the food is the most vital aspect of the training program. Eating the right food is known to affect the performance of athletes (Volek, 2004. 34).
I have chosen to research about athletes who participate in track events and that are short distances. The latter is known as sprinters. This is because they are known for the distances that they run, and this involves a lot of energy usage. They need to find ways they can replenish the lost energy and finish their races. These are the reasons why I chose to research on this group of individuals. Readers will be interested to know about the food plan that is similar to that of Usain Bolt, and how it affects his performance. The food plan that I have provided is aimed at athletes who run short races between 200m and 100m.
This paper seeks to give an analysis of the food plan that athletes use, especially those in short track events. Also, it explains the benefits of using the required food plan.
Analysis of a track event Athlete’s Food Plan
Food Plan for sprinters
|Breakfast||Milk and Breakfast cereal|
|Snack||Sandwiches that have egg, cheese and meat fillings|
|Lunch||Chicken, Meat, Fish stir-fries and served with noodles or rice
|Snack||Liquid meal supplements and fruit smoothies|
|Dinner||Salmon on crackers with canned tuna served with rice cakes
Yoghurt or fruit
|Snack||Nut mixes and dried fruit|
Athletes who run short distances are known as sprinters, and they have a food plan, which recommends that they eat high energy foods. According to their food plan, they have to eat at least five to nine snacks and meals on a daily basis. This is better off as compared to increasing their meal sizes. Furthermore, they are required to have a high intake of drinks such as juices, water, fortified milkshakes, and meal supplements that are in a liquid form, among others. They are highly recommended as they are better off as compared to bulky food. Products made especially for sports, and sugary foods should be taken. This is because they are high in nutrients, carbohydrates, and sugar. In order to fuel up, they must have a food record to assist in knowing when to eat (Volek, 2004. 36). From the above food plan, it is evident that the intake of proteins and carbohydrates is high as it aids in giving the sprinters energy.
The food plan has been approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The latter is an athletic body, which has the responsibility of regulating the activities of athletes. On the other hand, the USDA has its own guidelines concerning the intake of food by athletes. It is recommended by the USDA that the calories, which are obtained from intake of proteins, are 20%. Thus, it is in accordance with the food plan that is recommended by the IAAF. It also recommends that the intake of carbohydrates is fifty per cent of the total intake. This is because carbohydrates are high in energy and are vital to enhancing the athlete’s performance. The only differences, which exist between the IAAF food plan and that of USDA, is that the latter has more items (Volek, 2004. 42). For example, the USDA requires that athletes consume no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium on a daily basis. Also, an athlete should have an intake of fat that is saturated. In percentage form, this is 10% of the total intake of food that is consumed.
It is required that sprinters increase their strength levels, as well as their muscle mass. They can achieve this through effective programs on resistance training. The myth that exists among sprinters is that protein intake should be monitored. Unfortunately, the latter is not true as it has been proven by researchers. The researchers have found out that taking proteins in large quantities does not influence the results of training. Instead, the sprinters should focus on strategies that promote the intake of carbohydrates and proteins in the right portions.
Water is an essential aspect of the food plan, and the sprinters should have their water bottles all the time. This is because athletes should be well fueled and hydrated when they are working out, as this is the best condition for training. A sports drink is also recommended, and it should be taken together with the water. Water and a health drink assist in making the training session effective and lasting. Supplements are also encouraged as they have many beneficial elements. They include; enhancing performance, body fat reduction, muscle mass increment, and promotion of recovery. Caution should be taken by the athletes when they are taking supplements. This is because some have harmful substances, which can cause serious harm to the sprinters (DeLee & Drez, 2003. 45).
Many benefits are obtained as a result of having such a food plan. This is because sprinters need a cardiovascular system that is healthy, have strong muscles, and endurance that is obtained from the intense workout. Thus, they should all the time have with the sports drinks, water, and enough intakes of proteins, and carbohydrates. Only fats that are healthy should be consumed in order to have enough energy when training. Saturated fats and Trans fats mostly found in beef should be totally limited. This limitation also applies to processed and fast foods as they increase one’s chance of obtaining heart diseases. By having a food plan, the sprinter is assured that their calorie intake is monitored. Athletes who have extra weight are advised to keenly follow the food plan and record their intake in food records (Kraemer & Zatsiorsky, 2006. 161).
Caution is given to athletes as they risk losing their lives or even being injured if they do not follow the food plan. Before training, they must have eaten what is required, and in the right amount. This is to reduce the risk of burnout and muscle cramps, among others. Fats should be consumed well, and especially the Trans fats. They are known to affect the athlete’s cholesterol levels by increasing the (LDL). Also, it lowers the athletes (HDL), which are known to be vital to the body functions. If sodium is taken in large quantities, it can be extremely deadly. Some of its effects include high blood pressure and paralysis, which can affect the athlete’s career or even end it. Thus, caution has to be taken by the athletes as its impacts are of a high magnitude.
In conclusion, the plan that I have provided is straightforward, also approved by the IAAF. Any athlete can easily find the food items as they are cheap and widely available. Apart from that, the reader should keenly follow the suggestions that I have provided. This also refers to the times when the food should be consumed. It should be known that supplements will never replace food; they only assist in providing the nutrients. They should not be misused as they may lead to a poor and dismal performance by the athlete. The risks should be examined versus the benefits before taking supplements. It is extremely unfortunate when some athletes have to be disqualified from races because they have used substances, which are banned. The reader of this plan should ensure that they obtain more advice from a sports nutritionist. This is because there are different body types, and the intake levels are different. One needs to know about their individual food plans, and how it will assist during training. Indeed, Life quality and the health of athletes are determined by the choices they make concerning food.
Volek, S. Influence of nutrition on responses to resistance training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 23, 4, (2004): 23 -57.
DeLee, MD, & Drez, MD. DeLee & Drez’s Orthopedic Sports Medicine; Principles and Practice. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2003.Print.
Kraemer, William & Zatsiorsky, Vladimir. Science and Practice of Strength Training, Second Edition. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics Publishers, 2006.Print.
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