How should athletes be fed?

How Athletes Should Eat
How Athletes Should Eat

Dietician Salih Gürel gave important information about nutrition in athletes. It is accepted that adequate and balanced nutrition does not guarantee the success of an athlete, but inadequate and unbalanced nutrition causes some health problems and low performance.

The most important goals in sports nutrition; To protect the athlete's general health and to increase his performance. Energy requirement; It varies depending on factors such as gender, age, body size and composition (height, weight, amount of fat in the body, amount of lean tissue), type, intensity and frequency of the exercise performed. Due to all these, the energy requirement of an athlete differs when compared to another athlete.

Although the main differences between sports branches stem from the energy systems used and the contribution of the nutrients needed to the total energy, carbohydrates are the most important nutritional element for all athletes. In sports branches that require strength / power and athletes with high muscle mass, it is known that the need for protein increases, but other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fat) should also be consumed adequately. Muscle glycogen stores can be completely emptied with 1,5-2 hours of exercise. In order to fill these stores quickly, high carbohydrate foods and protein foods should be consumed together in the first half hour after exercise. Thus, both the energy stores for the next training / match will be replenished and the muscle mass will be preserved by stimulating protein synthesis.

Providing adequate hydration is important for all athletes, the weight lost before and after training should be followed up and fluid loss should be replaced. A person can live for weeks without food, but can live for a few days without water. o At 3% loss, blood volume, physical performance decreases, o Concentration is impaired at 5% loss, o At 8% loss, dizziness, extreme fatigue, difficulty in breathing may be observed, o Muscle spasm, extreme fatigue, circulatory and kidney failure are seen in 10% loss. A decrease of 20% of body water results in death.

It should not be forgotten that nutrition should be personal for each athlete, even in the same sports branch, and the necessary information about nutrition should be provided by dieticians.


"An adequate and balanced diet" cannot make the average athlete an elite, but "an inadequate and unbalanced diet" can reduce an elite athlete to an average level.

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