Fitness & Nutrition PDF Print Write e-mail
Carbohydrate and fat contribute most of the energy needed for physical activity, while protein is needed to promote muscle growth altand recovery. Well-trained muscles are more efficient at using energy sources by storing more carbohydrate and utilizing more fat for energy, preserving carbohydrate stores for later use.
  • The amount of carbohydrates needed per day to fuel activity varies and depends on the duration of the activity.
  • Requirements for fat are the same for everyone, 25% to 30% of total calories per day.
  • Most recreational exercisers can meet protein needs with 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, the RDA for healthy adults.
  • For endurance athletes, experts recommend getting between 0.5 and 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
  • For strength athletes, those numbers are even higher--generally between 0.7 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
The timing and type of foods you eat around exercise can have a significant effect on energy level and recovery time. A performance meal plan can help optimize athletic performance. Consult with a registered dietitian Ask the Experts for a performance meal plan that’s right for you.
Adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals can be consumed in a healthy diet, so supplements are usually not necessary. Highly active individuals should make extra efforts to include enough calcium and iron in their diet. Being adequately hydrated altbefore, during, and after exercise is important to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance and maintain normal body temperature.

Water is the preferred beverage for hydration, but sports drinks can be beneficial when exercise lasts longer than an hour. Dietary supplements such as creatine, caffeine, anabolic steroids, erythropoietin, and blood doping may enhance performance but often cause serious health effects. Sports bars and shakes can be a convenient as a meal or snack but are often much more expensive than whole foods.