Nutrition and energy production when practicing sport

Nutrition plays an important role in providing energy when practicing sport, especially to achieve optimum performance. In fact, proper nutrition will allow higher performance, easier recovery and injury prevention. The macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins provide the energy needed by the human body and an athlete must meet the energy requirements of three fundamental aspects:

  1. energy consumption involved in the functioning of the various organs of the body (heart, brain, muscles)

  2. metabolic function associated with the various activities of daily living

  3. energy consumption linked to sport and physical activity

It is important to know that nutrients are able to supply the energy needed to maintain these processes, without forgetting that the different energy substrates are not interchangeable for energy and its availability to perform. Physical exercise differs from a person to another, depending on the intensity, duration and type of the sport practiced.

Source of energy in sports

The body requires various types of fuel and each organ or tissue will use a different one. For example, the energy during exercise depends generally on deposits of muscle glycogen, liver glycogen and fat in adipose tissue. The intensity and duration of exercise determine the relative amounts of carbohydrates and fats used.

Carbohydrates, stored in the body as muscle and liver glycogen are important in short term intense exercise. However, during prolonged exercise, they are also important in the early stages, lipids play an important role in storing energy reserves during prolonged exercise. During exercising however, proteins contribute little to the energy intake.

Therefore, we must take the importance of food into account and adapt our diet depending on the type of exercise that is practiced, with which intensity and duration and value in each case the basic use of a group of nutrients over the other.

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