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NUTRITION VALUES

by Coach Robinson

Why do you need a nutritional plan for training?
You need a nutritional plan for training to ensure you are meeting your body's increased nutrient requirements. These increased nutrient requirements will depend on your training volumes, frequency and intensity. Your requirements will also vary during the different training phases of the year. The skills you learn when designing your nutritional plan for training can be used to individualize your plan.

Following sound nutrition practices is most important during training. If you think about it, you spend most of your time training and this is largely what determines your performance in competition. Good nutrition will help you maximize your training and your competition performance. Your nutrition on competition day is just fine-tuning of your training nutrition.

What are some nutrients an athlete needs and what do they do?

Carbohydrate
Provides the superior fuel source for muscles during physical exercise. Carbohydrate is stored in limited amounts only and needs to be continually replenished.

Fiber
Helps keep bowels regular and can help reduce blood cholesterol. Athletes may need to decrease fiber pre-competition to prevent gut problems.

Protein
Essential in the growth and repair of all body tissues, including muscle and bone; hormone and enzyme production; optimal immune function. Protein is also a minor (replenishment) source of energy.

Fat
Provides the most concentrated and largest source of energy. Fat provides most of the energy for daily activity. Required for normal growth and healthy skin, production of certain hormones, structural component of body cells, supply of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Water
Prevents dehydration, helps cool the body and acts as a transport medium. Stored in the body in limited amounts.

Vitamin B Complex
Involved in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. B12 and folate are required for red blood cell production.

Vitamin C
Enhances iron absorption, acts as an antioxidant (antioxidants 'mop up' free radicals, preventing cell damage), increases energy production, is necessary for the synthesis of collagen for the formation of connective tissue and bone.

Vitamin E
An antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are substances that cause cell damage. As a result of greater oxygen uptake athletes have higher levels of free radicals. Antioxidants 'mop up' free radicals, preventing cell damage.

MINERALS

Iron
Required for the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin, the oxygen-carrying components of red blood cells and muscle cells respectively. Required for energy reactions to take place.

Calcium
Required to build and maintain strong bones and teeth, essential for muscle function, blood clotting and nerve transmission.

Zinc
Essential for normal growth, reproduction, immune system function and energy production in muscle cells.

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