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Understanding How Nutritional Facts Impact Performance

When it comes to nutrition and physical performance, we are living in revolutionary times. As a result, nutrition experts are increasingly utilizing nutritional information as a tool for enhancing our body’s “machine”.
According to Medline Plus, “nutrition can help enhance athletic performance. An active healthy lifestyle and exercise routine, along with eating well, is the best way to stay healthy.”
As a concept, “nutritional information” involves all the components that make up the foods an individual consumes. These ingredients consist of calories, carbohydrates, fats, sodium, vitamins, minerals and protein.

Why Is Nutrition So Influential?

In past generations, sports nutrition was tantamount to a guessing game, with most coaches and athletes following instincts and cultural traditions to get the most out of their bodies. But, with further research and intensifying technologies — ones that can show real-time data about how we physiologically respond to our diet and exercise routines — there’s never been a better time to be involved with sports nutrition.
As “Medical News Today” notes, “Athletes will have different nutritional needs compared with the general public. They may require more calories and macronutrients to maintain strength and energy to compete at their optimum level.”
If athletes are not getting the proper amount of nutrients, they will suffer greatly. They will not be able to keep up with other teammates or competitors. Improper nutrition also increases the risk of injury. For athletes to perform at their absolute best, they need to have a healthy balance between exercise, sleep and the food consumption.
Many athletes constantly track their nutrition intake in order to ensure they have met the levels required throughout their day. This monitoring allows them to see where they need to improve — or cut out certain foods — to meet their specific goals.
With the proper knowledge, athletes can identify nutrients that are good for them while also knowing the difference between high-quality and low-quality products within the sports world. This is all accomplished through the help of a certified nutritionist who aligns meal plans with an athlete’s specific objectives.

Current Trends and Athletic Performance

Today’s Dietitian explains that one of the current trends within nutrition and athletic performance includes carbohydrates. For many years, experts touted the “no carb” or “low-carb” lifestyle, but research has shown carbohydrates are actually the best macronutrient for sports performance. Therefore, if athletes maintain a diet that focuses solely on low carbohydrate intake, they will need to exert more energy to perform at the level required to remain a top athlete.
Per Today’s Dietitian, the best balance between nutrition and peak performance includes:
  • A diet with 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 20% fat for cardiovascular athletes
  • A diet with 45% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 25% fat for weight training athletes
  • A diet with 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 20% fat for both cardiovascular and weight training athletes
There have also been technological advancements that allow athletes to track their calorie intake throughout the day with minimal effort. Smartphones or smartwatches track nutritional statistics quite easily. Many nutritional apps enable consumers to scan the barcodes of grocery items, simplifying and streamlining the logging process.

Take Athletic Performance Knowledge to a New Level with an M.S. Degree

One way to take athletic performance knowledge to a new level is to further your career and earn your Master of Science (M.S.) degree. Those who enroll in the online Master of Science (M.S.) in Nutrition with Specialization in Sports Nutrition program at Lamar University will deepen their knowledge of nutrition in this fast-growing field.
Students will learn to expertly analyze diet and health status, assess nutritional deficiencies and provide evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle guidance. Ultimately, their expertise will lead to maximized athletic performance among their clients.
Students can complete this accelerated program in as few as 12 months, and students gain sound sports nutrition information to athletes and others who are physically active. For example, the Nutrition Research course examines the scientific method and the application of nutrition-based research. In the Sports Nutrition course, students focus on athletic performance and physical activity.
Each future sports nutrition professional will obtain the knowledge and skills required to enter influential roles in facilities such as fitness clubs, private practices, hospitals or consultants for professional athletes and sports teams.

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