Can the wrong food ruin an Olympic athlete’s performance?

Can the wrong food ruin an Olympic athlete’s performance?

Depending on their discipline, some Olympic athletes could potentially enjoy some junk food without affecting their performance, an expert explains.

“Combining the right diet with training is critical for success at the Olympic Games. Without enough food, and thereby energy, an athlete’s performance will be far from optimal, regardless of how much they’ve trained,” explains professor Lars Nybo of the University of Copenhagen’s department of nutrition, exercise, and sports.

In the long run, the best diet for athletes isn’t as simple as pounding protein drinks and chomping energy bars. What foods, how much, and when they should eat depends entirely upon their sporting discipline.

“We all need the right amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, salt, and fatty acids for optimal performance. But in some disciplines, it is essential to load up on carbohydrates during the final 48 hours prior to an event, whereas athletes in other disciplines can get away with eating junk food for breakfast,” he explains.

For a shot-putter, their diet and training in the years leading up to an Olympic Games matters most for their ability to build the explosive strength needed to push a 7 kilogram (15.4 pound) ball as far as possible.

“Generally, a shot-putter consumes a substantial amount of food on a daily basis, and post-workout protein in particular, in the run up to an Olympic Games, so as to build up muscle mass with which to launch their ball. With regards to event-day, what they eat isn’t too important. That’s because their performance is so brief that they needn’t have a vast reserve of energy built up in advance. In a nutshell, a shot-putter can eat junk food or doughnuts for breakfast,” explains Nybo.

The same dietary principle applies in other explosive disciplines, such as for 100-meter sprinters, javelin throwers, and high jumpers, because energy is only required for relatively short durations. For them, no special diet is necessary on the days immediately before or on event days.

“Nevertheless, it is important for these athletes to not overeat prior to competition. Because, as one stores energy from food, water is stored in the body as well. This makes us heavier, which isn’t smart when competing,” Nybo explains.

Whereas shot-putters, sprinters, and javelin throwers needn’t focus on specific dietary regimens on the days prior to an Olympic performance, things are quite different for distance runners and cyclists who may need to run 42.2 km (26 miles) or ride 244 km (152 miles). Nybo explains:

“While a road cyclist also needs to have consumed a healthy, varied diet leading up to the Olympics, the final two days before an event are of particular importance. During this time, a rider must consume large quantities of carbohydrate in the form of rice or white bread, for example,” he says.

This is because glycogen, the sugar from these foodstuffs, needs to be stored in muscles and the liver. Glycogen delivers riders an extra shot of energy once they set their muscles into motion and spin the pedals hard.

“Furthermore, cyclists need to eat lighter, more frequent meals during a long race—chocolate and energy drinks for example. This deposit of sugar is saved and provides energy throughout races,” says Nybo.

Source: University of Copenhagen

About The Author

Ida Eriksen, University of Copenhagen

Recommended Books:

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind -- by Peter Wayne.

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind -- by Peter Wayne.Cutting-edge research from Harvard Medical School supports the long-standing claims that Tai Chi has a beneficial impact on the health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the mind. Dr. Peter M. Wayne, a longtime Tai Chi teacher and a researcher at Harvard Medical School, developed and tested protocols similar to the simplified program he includes in this book, which is suited to people of all ages, and can be done in just a few minutes a day.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.


Browsing Nature's Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs
by Wendy and Eric Brown.

Browsing Nature's Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs by Wendy and Eric Brown.As part of their commitment to self-reliance and resiliency, Wendy and Eric Brown decided to spend a year incorporating wild foods as a regular part of their diet. With information on collecting, preparing, and preserving easily identifiable wild edibles found in most suburban landscapes, this unique and inspiring guide is a must-read for anyone who wants to enhance their family's food security by availing themselves of the cornucopia on their doorstep.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.


Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It -- edited by Karl Weber.

Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About ItWhere has my food come from, and who has processed it? What are the giant agribusinesses and what stake do they have in maintaining the status quo of food production and consumption? How can I feed my family healthy foods affordably? Expanding on the film’s themes, the book Food, Inc. will answer those questions through a series of challenging essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.


This article originally appeared on Futurity

 

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

INNERSELF VOICES

a woman under a full moon holding a full hourglass
How To Live In Perfect Harmony
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
The word harmony has various meanings. It is used in music, in relationships, referring to inner…
full moon over bare trees
Horoscope: Week of January 17 - 23, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
01 15 cast normal to the gutter
Cast Normal to the Gutter: North Node in Taurus
by Sarah Varcas
The Taurus North Node affirms it is time to lay the physical foundations of the new world as the…
woman looking out a door through a "curtain" or icicles
Everybody Hurts Sometimes
by Joyce Vissell
Do you ever find yourself looking at certain people and thinking to yourself, "Surely that person's…
Crazy auroras including red. Taken by Rayann Elzein on January 8, 2022 @ Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland
Horoscope: Week of January 10 - 16, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
the face of an old man in profile with the face of a baby looking at him
Call to Action! We Must Make A Difference
by Pierre Pradervand
“Spiritual activism is a practice that brings together the otherworldly and inward-focused work of…
woman standing over an abyss
Light Calling From The Abyss
by Laura Aversano
My prayer is that we all create a space for the darkness to birth a new way of seeing, sensing,…
dandelion in seed stage in various colors
Renewal and Transformation: This Is Who You Are!
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
We are constantly in the process of renewing ourselves and transforming. Physically, we are…
Is It Luck, Coincidence, Synchronicity, or Just Life?
Is It Luck, Coincidence, Synchronicity, or Just Life?
by Marie T. Russell
I love how the Universe (a.k.a. God/Goddess/All That Is, Creator, Divine, etc.) works. Things just…
Eris: The Radical Feminine Awakens
Eris: The Radical Feminine Awakens
by Sarah Varcas
Eris, in all her mighty glory, comes to set things straight. Eris knows the power of the feminine,…
Human Nature Restored -- A Collective Purpose Or Destiny
Human Nature Restored -- A Collective Purpose Or Destiny
by Charles Eisenstein
On a country hilltop one fall day, an herbalist challenged me to recall where I'd gotten the belief…

Selected for InnerSelf Magazine

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
5 Steps To Using Your Dreams To Find Answers
5 Steps To Using Your Dreams To Find Answers
by Nora Caron
I have always depended on dreams to provide me with clear answers about my direction in life,…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
by Tracy Marks
Astrology is a powerful art, capable of enhancing our lives by enabling us to understand our own…
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
If you're waiting for a change and frustrated it's not happening, maybe it would be beneficial to…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.