The percentage of people practicing sports is growing year by year, and endurance sports have become particularly popular. In cities, street runs, bike races or runmageddon are often organized. Not only professional athletes, but also amateurs, should pay attention to their diet. If we care about good sports results, we should take care of proper nutrition, which, along with training and regeneration, is an integral part of the training process.

GENERAL DIET RULES

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates (sugars) are the body’s main source of energy. The spare form of carbohydrates is glycogen, which consists of hundreds of glucose molecules. It is mainly stored in the liver and muscles. The job of liver glycogen is to maintain a constant blood sugar level, while muscle glycogen provides energy for working muscles. During training, the reserves of accumulated glycogen are reduced, which makes it impossible to maintain a high intensity of exercise. Therefore, it is important to ensure regular carbohydrate supplementation in the diet of a physically active person.

Dietary carbohydrates come in two forms: simple and complex. Simple sugars are absorbed very quickly and incorporated into the bloodstream, and the result of their consumption is a rapid increase in energy. Unfortunately, an excessive amount of them can reduce exercise capacity, cause rapid fatigue or dizziness. Examples of products containing simple sugars are: fresh fruit, honey, jams, juices, syrups and dried fruit. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates, which should dominate the diet, are a much better energy material for the body, because they maintain a constant level of glucose in the blood. They are made of many molecules, therefore their digestion takes much longer and they are absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly. Their good sources are mainly cereal products and vegetables.
The demand for carbohydrates depends on the number, length and intensity of the training performed.
• Low – very light training: 3 – 5 g / kg
• Moderate – 1 hour of intensive training per day: 5 – 7 g / kg
• High – 1 to 3 hours of intense training per day: 6 – 10 g / kg
• Very high – 4 to 5 hours of intensive training per day: 8 – 12 g / kg

The total amount of carbohydrates should provide 40-70% of the energy in the diet. For people who train as amateurs, the demand at a moderate level should be sufficient.

Protein
Proteins are the building blocks of cells and tissues. They are part of organs, hormones and antibodies, participate in metabolism and condition the activity of enzymes. Intensive exercise causes damage to the muscle fibers not only during exercise, but also several hours after its completion. Adequate supply of protein enables adaptation to training loads, improves regeneration and influences the building of muscle tissue. In physically active people, the protein requirement ranges from 1.2-2.0 g per kilogram of body weight per day. The main sources of protein with high nutritional value are: meat, fish, eggs.

Fat
Apart from carbohydrates, fats are an important source of energy needed for physically active people and their presence in the diet is essential. We divide them into saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Particularly positive properties in terms of sports are shown by omega-3 fatty acids (PUFA), which help increase the supply of oxygen to the muscles, reduce joint stiffness and can support regeneration after exercise. In addition, fat is a carrier of flavor and helps in the absorption of certain vitamins (A, D, E, K). Vegetable oils (olive oil, rapeseed oil), sea fish and nuts are excellent sources of this macronutrient. The supply of fat should be in the range of 20-30% of the total energy value of the diet.

Training related nutrition

Before training
A meal before planned physical activity should be easy to digest, so as not to burden the digestive system, and consist of complex carbohydrates (e.g. rice with lean meat and salad). Avoid heavy-to-digest products, such as peas, beans, cabbage, and fatty and fried foods.
1-2 hours before training, you can eat a low-volume, high-energy and low-fat snack, e.g. a cereal bar, fresh or dried fruit.

During physical exertion
With less than 45 minutes of training, there is no need to take in extra carbohydrates. During long-term efforts, you should take carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars, which are easily digestible and give you a quick boost of energy. Fruit or fruit juices, smoothies and energy bars or gels are good solutions.

Post-workout and regenerative meal

The post-workout meal aims to replenish glycogen in muscle tissue and accelerate muscle regeneration. It should consist of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables / fruits, low in fat and high in fiber (e.g. yogurt mixed with fruit, roll with peanut butter, banana and honey). It is important that the meal is consumed within 2 hours after the end of the training session.

Hydration
Providing the optimal amount of fluids, along with the appropriate distribution of macronutrients in the diet, are necessary to achieve the maximum motor skills of the player. In order to prevent dehydration, make sure you have the correct watering strategy. The easiest way to estimate the amount of fluid and electrolyte lost during exercise is to weigh pre- and post-workout. During activity with a duration of> 90 minutes, it is necessary to replace the lost electrolytes, e.g. with Labor Electrolytes.

Before starting training, it is recommended to drink about 5-7 ml of fluid / kg body weight, and during exercise about 200-300 ml at 15-20 minutes intervals. It is worth noting that replenishing fluids at one time in large portions may intensify diuresis, so it is recommended to drink it down in small sips. After training, it is advisable to consume about 1.5 litre of fluid for each kilogram lost during exercise.
Depending on the length and intensity of training, there are several types of drinks that should satisfy your thirst.

Duration of exercise

Intensity

Type of drink

< 60 min

low / medium

Hypotonic (e.g. mineral water, highly diluted fruit and vegetable juices)

> 60 min

low / moderate

isotonic / hypotonic

> 60 min

high

isotonic

 

SUPPLEMENTATION
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has developed a classification (ABCD) that includes dietary supplements, the effectiveness of which in improving exercise capacity is supported by scientific evidence. Group A consists of safe and proven supplements, which include: beta-alanine, bicarbonates, creatine, caffeine and beetroot juice.

Beta-alanine
Beta-alanine is an amino acid and a precursor to the dipeptide carnosine which is found in muscle tissue. Regular supplementation with beta-alanine shows an improvement in muscle strength and training volume, has a beneficial effect on the body’s efficiency by increasing the maximum oxygen uptake and accelerates the regeneration of the body after exercise. In practice, this translates into the possibility of making longer and more intense training sessions.
The period of supplementation should be a minimum of 2-4 weeks and a maximum of 10-12 weeks. Beta-alanine should be taken before and after training, and the appropriate dose is about 65 mg for each kilogram of body weight, i.e. 4-6 g / day or 0.8-1.6 g every 3-4 hours (in case of itching and tingling).

Bicarbonate (sodium bicarbonate)
Supplementation with bicarbonates can bring satisfactory benefits in endurance-strength and endurance-speed efforts characterized by high intensity (800 and 1500m running, 200 and 400m swimming, crossfit competitions). Bicarbonates have the ability to bind to hydrogen ions (H+), thanks to which they reduce the pH value of blood and other tissues (including muscles). Endurance athletes can benefit from the AlcaNeff supplement, which is used as sodium bicarbonate to restore the acid-base balance. Bicarbonates reduce acidification of the body after exercise, which significantly accelerates regeneration after the end of the training unit. It reduces the feeling of muscle pain that appears after intense exercise (DOMS), which is popularly called “sore muscles”.
The recommended supplementation dose is the consumption of 0.2-0.4 g for every kg of body weight. It can be done in two ways, eat it once up to 1-2 hours before planned exercise, or divide the daily dose into several smaller portions, or 3-4 smaller doses for 2-4 consecutive days before an important sports event. The choice of method depends on individual preferences, because, as in the case of caffeine, there is a different tolerance to this substance.

Creatine
Creatine naturally occurs in various tissues of the human body, including in skeletal muscles, tendons and the brain. Administering creatine improves regeneration after exercise, shortens the rehabilitation time and supports the nervous system. You can supplement with creatine in two ways. The first way is to provide a continuous supply of creatine for 4 weeks at a dose of 5 g per day. The second method involves a saturation phase with a dose of 20 g per day for 5-7 days (4 portions of 5 g during the day), and then it is recommended to administer 3-6 g of creatine daily to maintain the effect. The supplement should be taken with a meal with carbohydrates, before and / or after training.

Caffeine
Caffeine supplementation can have a positive effect on sports performance. It has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system (CNS), increases the secretion of endorphins (commonly known as happiness hormones), accelerates the heart rate and improves reaction time. Caffeine also affects concentration, delays fatigue and reduces the feeling of pain. Thanks to the simultaneous stimulation and delay of fatigue, we are able to train longer and more intensively. The supplement should be taken 30-60 minutes before exercise once during the preparation periods or before heavier training units. The appropriate dose is 3-6 mg for every kilogram of body weight, or less than 180 mg (for people who do not drink coffee on a daily basis).

Beetroot juice
Beetroot juice is a rich source of nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. They have many properties useful in endurance sports, affecting endurance and sports performance. They improve, among others: blood flow through the blood vessels and contribute to the intensification of muscle contraction and increasing its resistance to fatigue.
It is recommended to consume beetroot juice 2.5 hours before exercise at a dose of 6.4-12.8 mg per kilogram of body weight (approx. 500 ml of juice) or 140 ml of concentrate (the so-called beetroot shot) divided into two doses. The effects of supplementation are noticeable after the 3rd day of use.

Bibliography
– Anita. Bean, Żywienie w sporcie, Zysk i S-KA, 2014 Poznań
– Gammone MA, Riccioni G, Parrinello G, D’Orazio N.: Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty – Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 27;11
– https://ncez.pzh.gov.pl/abc-zywienia/weglowodany-w-diecie-sportowca
– www.ais.gov.au (Australian Institute of Sport)

SAMPLE MENU:
3000 kcal diet for a person with high physical activity (training 5-6 times a week)
Distribution of macronutrients: carbohydrates 60%, protein 20%, fat 20%.

BREAKFAST
Scrambled eggs with ham and vegetables
Chicken eggs 4 pieces
Poultry ham – 2 slices
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Tomato 1 piece (130 g)
1 tsp chives
Radish 4 pieces
Graham bread 180 g (2 pieces)

II BREAKFAST
Multi-vegetable juice 250 ml
Blueberries 100 g
Apple 150 g

LUNCH
Turkey casserole
Turkey breast meat 120 g
Rapeseed oil 5 g
Carrots 100 g
Frozen peas half a cup 100 g
Broth / water approx. 300 ml
Wheat flour 1 tbsp
1 tbsp. Greek yogurt
Chopped parsley 1 tbsp
Millet 120 g
– Fry the chopped chicken breast in a frying pan. Pour the meat with vegetable broth or water, add finely chopped carrots and frozen peas, stew everything. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whiten the dish with Greek yoghurt and thicken with flour. Finally, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

MEAL AFTER TRAINING
Oatmeal 50 g
Banana 1 piece
Raisins 15 g
Honey 10 g
Natural yogurt 150 ml

DINNER
Salad with tuna and croutons
3 handfuls of lettuce
Tuna in gravy 3 tbsp
Canned corn 2 tbsp
Green cucumber 60 g
Red pepper 120 g (half a piece)
Half a tomato
Olive oil 5 g
Rye bread 3 slices 105 g
– Measure all salad ingredients in a bowl and serve with toasted bread in a dry frying pan

AUTHOR: mgr Oliwia Kaczmarek