A glance into an interesting topic of Sports Nutrition

What is Sports Nutrition? How is it different from our normal intake?


  • Sports Nutrition is an advanced nutritional science of providing all macronutrients and micronutrients in optimal quantities essential for preservation of lean body mass, synthesis of new tissues, optimization of skeletal structure, maximization of oxygen transport and its usage, maintenance of optimal fluid and electrolyte balance, and regulation of all metabolic processes.
  • It aims at achieving maximum performance, which includes sustaining intense workouts and competitions, along with proper recovery and rest so as to effectively reach the fitness goal and be at a physical and mental peak 24 hours a day, specially for competing athletes.
  • It is not restricted to competing athletes. It applies to EACH and EVERY person who carries out any form of regular, planned and structured physical activity aimed to improve or maintain any component of physical fitness, such as reducing body fat, increasing muscle mass/strength or improving stamina like gym goers.
  • It also applies to people who are active in life without any form of regular and structured planned activity and wish to be active till the very end of their lives. People who desire a great quality of life and not just longevity.
  • The training activity or general day to day task involves usage of muscles. If Sports nutrition is not supported with adequate good quality macronutrients and micronutrients given in the right quantities at the right time, body will get more unfit than before.
  • Sports Nutrition is a Must for All humans. It is actually Performance Nutrition. We should not simply eat to live and subsist, but we must ingest foods with the intent of maximizing physical performance parameters and stave off ageing.
  • Sports nutrition based on its vision and mission for the people at large, must completely ignore-- RDA( Recommended Dietary Allowance ). ICMR (The Indian Council of Medical Research) also specifies the limitations of its application. The RDA is not meant to be used as a standard to determine an individual’s requirements. It is applicable ONLY to a normal healthy population living under normal conditions and assumes that requirements of all other nutrients are adequately met. It can only act as a guideline for maintaining Survival and Preventing Nutrient Deficiencies. It is CLEAR that the RDA is NOT aimed at achieving even Optimum Health, let alone Maximum Performance and peak Fitness!
  • Food pattern of an Indian diet, It may be noted that traditionally an Indian diet tends to be very high in unnecessary carbohydrates and very low in protein. In addition, due to the influence of the wellness industry, Indian diets mistakenly avoid fats. So, quite absurdly, we are almost exclusively Carbohydrate eaters with little or no Protein and very little dietary fat intake.
  • We are an Insulin Resistant, Fat, Unfit Nation. We are the Diabetic Capital with a stupendous - one out of every three of us being a clinically diagnosed Type-II Diabetic. This completely unacceptable and ridiculous statistic will not improve till we vindicate the wrongly vilified Dietary Fat and strongly implicate Carbohydrate as the reason for causing Diabetes, Obesity, Diabesity leading to Cardiovascular Disease and all chronic inflammatory illnesses.
  • The fitness revolution in the last 15 years has been totally unsuccessful in even slowing down the rise of the DIABESITY? Metabolic X syndrome, simply because we are not willing to face the truth that in the name of health, we are dumping our bodies with unwanted Carbohydrates(which is a kinder term for sugar) and staying away from the beneficial natural Saturated Fats and First Class Animal source Protein.
  • No amount of Workouts, Marathon Craze, Cycling Craze can save us till we decide to rethink our approach to Nutrition.
  • Indians especially are in dire need of a dietary approach that aligns itself with Performance. Indians as a population need SPORTS NUTRITION--Eating for Performance.

How do macronutrients play a vital role in the performance of athletes?

  • All 3 Macronutrients are made up of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms in varying proportions. Protein is unique in the sense that apart from the 3 aforementioned ingredients, Proteins are made up of Amino Acid and have an Amine group that contains an extra Nitrogen Atom.
  • Apart from this, each Macronutrient has a Kilo-caloric value, which means all three Macronutrients are energy providers.
  • Proteins and Carbohydrates are 4kcals per Gram and Dietary Fats stand out with more than double the amount of energy at 9 kcals per Gram.
  • Proteins have that extra nitrogen Atom and Dietary Fats are the most calorically dense molecules. What carbohydrates have is simply 4 kilocalories per Gram.
  • This suggests that Proteins and Fats have all that Carbohydrates have to offer but Carbohydrates do not have all that Proteins and Fats have to offer.
  • First-Class Animal Source Protein as a macronutrient has its rightful place in Sports Nutrition as the sole Macronutrient capable of repairing and building tissue. Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy is integral to enhanced physical performance and improvement in Body Composition and that cannot happen without adequate levels of First-Class Animal Source Protein.
  • Dietary Fats are simply the Best source of sustained energy. Though a Lipo itself, it does not in any way contribute to lipogenesis in the human body. Thus , their role is crucial to the goals of enhanced physical performance and consequently, their place is sealed in Sports Nutrition.
  • Carbohydrates, when ingested, do not allow the body to use the BEST source of sustained energy, which is FAT. They then become the sole fuel that the body uses and as a fuel source they are inferior to fat in every way. Not sustained, they cause peaks and troughs in energy levels. You need constant frequent refeeds to maintain an even keel of energy. They are lipogenic and in the long term cause insulin resistance. They are pro-inflammatory. Thus are lipogenic and in the long term cause insulin resistance. They are pro- inflammatory. Thus they need to be extremely restricted if not eliminated altogether from a dietary plan under Sports Nutrition.
  • Energy substrate utilization does not depend on activity, situation, or intensity of exercise. It just depends on WHAT YOU FEED YOUR BODY.
  • Let’s call this the Carb- Adapted state in which the body is forced to subsist on maximum 500 grams of stored Muscle and Liver Glycogen stores(Maximum that an athletic muscular person can store) resulting in 500 * 4 = 2000 Kilocalories at your disposal, with roughly 57,750 Kilocalories stored and locked up in terms of energy from fat ( This is with reference to a lean athlete with just 10% body fat. ) This example has been taken from the brilliant book called ‘The Art and Science of Low -- Carbohydrate Performance’ by Doctors Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney. Two brilliant researchers who have done the most amount of work using Very Low Carbohydrate, High fat, Protein Diets successfully for Ultra Endurance athletes.

How do you help Athletes maintain hydration and electrolyte in the body?

  • Athletes can easily lose water making up 2-3% of their body weight. Marathon runners and football players may lose even upto 5-6 litres/day, which could go upto 6-10% body weight.
  • With progressive dehydration, the consequences are more serious
  1. 2% of body weight lost - Impaired performance
  2. 4% of body weight lost - Reduction in Muscular Capacity
  3. 5% of body weight lost - Heat exhaustion
  4. 7% of body weight lost - Hallucinations
  5. 10% of body weight lost _ Circulatory collapse and heat stroke
  • Water, Fluids and Electrolytes helps to curb hydration due to below functions.
  1. Fluid Balance
  2. Acid -Base Balance
  3. Nerve Impulse Transmission
  4. Uptake of nutrients
  5. Heart Contraction

Which are the common foods or supplements necessary for Sports nutrition?

  • Important foods and supplements are
  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients
  • Anti-Catabolics
  • Ergogenic Aids
  • Fat Loss Aids

Ms. Shruti Jain is a well-known Coach, Nutritionist & consultant. Her expertise lies in Sports Nutrition.

Ms. Shruti Jain’s philosophy on health:

Health is the absence of pathology or disease. Sports nutrition is the building block for maintaining health. I am also an Internationally certified personal Trainer and Coach, so having said that being a Coach I cannot deny the importance of Weight Training for maintaining health. The role of Training always precedes Nutrition. But Yes it needs Nutrition to carry the baton across the finishing line. Training jump-starts the process of change, and Nutrition ensures its completion.

Contact details :

@ the_sports_nutritionist


Call/Whatsapp: 7337409490

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