Wednesday, June 06, 2007

videos: nutrition for athletes

following my previous post on nutrition (reference: the nutrition gap ), i came across some random Youtube videos regarding nutrition for athletes.

i found them pretty interesting, especially in comparison to the comments i previously made about how athletes sometimes had the worst nutrition imaginable. which is ironic, seeing that the common perception is that athletes are the most well-conditioned physical specimens, and hence the healthiest, and therefore in possession of the best diets.

there's 2 assumptions being made: 1) that being well-conditioned means being healthy, and 2) that being well-conditioned means following a good diet. that's not necessarily true. well-conditioned means having high physical capacities, but that doesn't relate to a person's well-being or their internal physiology. granted, a well-conditioned athlete has a high probability of being healthy, but then again, there are innumerable stories of athletes with health problems (i.e., heart conditions, joint deterioration, high blood pressure, etc.). similarly, conditioning is related to physical capability, which is a function of several variables, all of which can make up for a poor diet. obviously, a good diet helps in developing good conditioning, but it is not a sole determinative factor, and there are many examples of athletes with superior talents whose diets were rich in foods like cheeseburgers, pizzas, etc.

having said that, a diet for an athlete isn't like everyone else's. an athlete expends a greater amount of energy and exerts a greater amount of effort relative to the average human. as a result, the caloric needs are higher and the nutritional requirements are different. even by sport, the dietary guidelines are different, with endurance-related sports requiring more carbohydrates relative to short-duration ones (i.e., a marathon runner has to have more carbohydrates relative to a 100 meter sprinter).

you can check out the following videos. i found them pretty useful:
i should point out none of these are really triathlon-related, especially for longer distance triathlons. the one that comes closest is the running one. but still, i think they're good in that they introduce concepts about calories, nutrients, food types (i.e., carbs v. fats v. protein), and proportions (i.e., ratios of carbs to fats to proteins) that at least get you thinking about food in useful ways appropriate for sports nutrition, and they can be adjusted to better match the needs of a specific sport.

No comments: