How Many Calories Should An Athlete Eat Per Day? Even athletes need to worry about calories, but can’t eat just anything. At the same time, they burn more than the average person. How many calories should an athlete eat daily? Athletes need more calories. Their bodies are working harder and burning more energy. There is a lot of calorie information out there, but many athletes aren’t sure how many calories they should be eating per day.
How Many Calories Should an Athlete Eat Per Day
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Need Of Energy In Athletes
An athlete’s key to an active life routine is physical fitness. Whether an athlete is a runner or a game player, they all rely on energy, ability and strength. It takes time, training, and patience to be the best, but that all is not enough. They need to be vigilant about getting enough energy-efficient calories, vitamins and other foods constituents that provide energy.
Athletes must take more calories than the ordinary individual because they have to do more physical exertion, which needs a high degree of energy. The fundamental objectives of athlete food plan does not require weight loss ultimately athletes need to eat the extra calories than they eat. In reality, if body muscles have to be build up, the purpose of the athlete’s diet may be to obtain weight.
What 1 Calorie Really Is?
In terms of food science energy is measured as calories. Describing it more technically quantity of energy required to increase 1-degree Celsius of 1 gram water, is termed as 1 calorie. Cells require energy to keep contraction of their muscles repetitive and to promote athletes performance.
How Much Energy Athletes Need?
The amount of calories necessary to help an athlete varies based on the BMI of the individual and the complete amount of actions that take place in one day. Approximate daily calorie expenditures of a person ranged from 2,700 to 2,900 calories, for a female from 2,000 to 2,100 calories. Athletes must add all extra calories by eating additional food removed due to workout. For instance an athlete of 160 pound, running 8 mph, in one hour will consume 986 calories. This must be compensated in the diet. The body has to be supplied 500 calories per day only for muscles.
Each Individual’s Calorie Intake Needs To Be Specific
As every person’s body characteristics and energy consumption are distinct, so a highly specific calorie consumption for each individual has to be organized. However, an athlete requires the amount of calories at least 3,000 to 4,000 a day, it can be a more or less sometimes. For example, an Olympic Gold Medalist, was known to utilize 12,000 calories a day. Although this amount is 9,500 more than the suggested figures for working youthful people by the Food and Drug Administration.
As path to good health is distinct for everybody. The quantity of meals that athletes need are subjected to their height, age, weight and activity. Generally, the amount of calories that you consume each day needs to alter. As we know that normal individuals need 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day but for athletes increase in total calories could be from 500 to 1,000 calories.
There are different sources of calories. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the main kinds of calorie sources. Calories from individual food constituents should be taken into account, in relation to complete calories.
For this purpose given under are calorie compositions of each individual constituent required for athletes.
Carbohydrates As Chief Calorie Provider
Carbohydrates are best for them because carbohydrates are the most rapid fuel for burning calories. Cells in the body readily use carbohydrates as energy. However, it is not easy to store carbohydrates. A glycogen molecule which is made up of twisted sugar units is the only type of carbohydrate the body can store up. The body utilize protein and fat for energy after consuming glycogen and other carbohydrates. Proteins and fats are a little more inefficient as they take more energy and long time to transform them into usable type of energy.
Carbohydrates must be included in athletes’ calorie consumption, particularly for athletic activities, because carb burns (give energy) rapidly. Carbohydrate charging approach increase the quantity of carbohydrates three days before the case by up to 70 per cent of complete calories. It is estimated that 500 g of carbohydrates a day is required by an athlete based on a 3,000-calorie intake. However, certain fat levels are always used to supply the body with energy. Approximately half of the complete energy spend is acquired from the consumption of carbohydrate in an adequate exercise. To keep on the metabolism of carbohydrates instead of fats it’s very important to take carbs in high levels.
As an athlete, your physical health is key to an active lifestyle. You depend on strength, skill, and endurance, whether you’re going for the ball or making that final push across the finish line. Being your best takes time, training, and patience, but that’s not all. Like a car, your body won’t run without the right fuel. You must take special care to get enough of the calories, vitamins, and other nutrients that provide energy.
An athlete’s diet is not much different than that of any person striving to be healthy. You need to include choices from each of the healthy food groups. However, athletes may need to eat more or less of certain foods, depending upon:
- The type of sport.
- The amount of training you do.
- The amount of time you spend in training.
Path To Improved Health
Every person’s needs are different. The amount of food you need depends on your age, height, weight, and sport or activity level. In general, you need to replace the number of calories you burn each day. Calories measure the energy you get from food. Most people need between 1,500 and 2,000 calories a day. For athletes, this number can increase by 500 to 1,000 more calories.
Talk to your doctor about your or your child’s nutrition needs. They can help you determine a healthy daily calorie count. Over time, you will learn how to balance your intake and outtake to avoid extreme weight gain or loss.
Calories come in different forms. The main types are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
- Carbohydrates (carbs) are your body’s biggest source of calories. Simple carbs (fruits, milk, and vegetables) are easier for your body to break down. They provide quick bursts of energy. Complex carbs take longer for your body to break down. They are a better source of energy over time. Complex carbs in whole grain products are the most nutritious. Examples include: whole-grain bread, potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, and kidney beans. Doctors recommend that 55% to 60% of your daily calories come from carbohydrates.
- Fat is another important source of calories. In small amounts, fat is a key fuel source. It serves other functions, such as supporting good skin and hair. Do not replace carbs in your diet with fats. This can slow you down, because your body has to work harder to burn fat for energy. Fats should make up no more than 30% of your daily calories. When you can, choose unsaturated fats, like olive oil and nuts. These are better for your health than saturated and trans fats. Too much fat or the wrong kinds can cause health problems. It can raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol level and increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Protein should make up the remaining 10% to 15% of your daily calories. Protein is found in foods like meat, eggs, milk, beans, and nuts. Some athletes think they should consume large amounts of protein. While protein does help build muscle, high doses won’t help you bulk up. Over time, too much protein can be harmful to your health. The digestion process can put strain on your liver and kidneys.
Athletes need the same vitamins and minerals as everyone else. There are no guidelines for additional nutrients or supplements. To stay healthy, eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. It should include foods full of calcium, iron, potassium, and fiber. You also need key vitamins in their diet, such as A, C, and E. Try not to be tempted by junk foods, which are an empty source of calories. Instead, focus on lean meats, whole grains, and a mixture of fruits and vegetables to fuel your body.
Know When To Eat And Rehydrate
For athletes, knowing when to eat is as important as knowing what to eat. Try to eat a pre-game meal 2 to 4 hours before your event. For a race, this could be dinner the night before. A good pre-game meal is high in complex carbs and low in protein and sugar. Avoid rich and greasy foods. These can be harder for you to digest and can cause an upset stomach. You may find it helpful to avoid food the hour before a sporting event. This is because digestion uses up energy.
Staying hydrated is the most important thing athletes can do. This is especially true on game day. Your body is made up of nearly 60% water. During a workout, you quickly lose fluid when you sweat. Thirst is a sign of dehydration. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. A good rule of thumb is to take a drink at least every 15 to 20 minutes. But, don’t drink so much that you feel full.
Water is the best way to rehydrate. For short events (under an hour), water can replace what you lose from sweating. For longer events, you may benefit from sports drinks. They provide electrolytes and carbohydrates. Many experts now recommend drinking chocolate milk after exercise. The protein in milk helps with muscle recovery. It can have less sugar than sports or energy drinks, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine. They can dehydrate you more and cause you to feel anxious or jittery.
Caloric Needs for Athletes
Most people have heard the general recommendation that adults eat about 2,000 calories per day. For athletes, however, that may not be enough. As people who ask a lot of their bodies, athletes need extra calories to fuel their activities and to encourage muscles and bones to continue strengthening. Athletes typically need a minimum of 2,000 calories per day, with specific upper-range recommendations varying based on the person’s age, sex, weight, sport, activity level, goals and overall health.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends rough daily calorie intakes based on a person’s age, sex, weight, height and activity level. For example, a very active six-foot-tall male who is 25 years old and weighs 175 pounds needs about 3,750 calories per day, according to the USDA’s recommendations. In contrast, a 50-year-old moderately active female who is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds needs about 2,100 calories daily. In general, younger athletes will need more calories than older athletes, male athletes will need more calories than females and larger athletes will need more calories than smaller athletes.
An athlete’s calorie needs also vary based on the sport. According to Nanna Meyer, a senior sport dietitian for Olympic athletes, elite endurance athletes need the most calories because their activities and training last for the longest periods of time. She suggests a range of 3,000 to 8,000 calories per day for high-level endurance athletes. Those playing team sports need about 3,000 to 4,500 calories per day, and athletes participating in sports that need only short bursts of strength or performance, such as powerlifters and gymnasts, need somewhere in the range of 2,000 to 6,000 calories per day.
Timing and Distribution
For athletes, timing of meals and snacks is especially important. Calorie intake should be spread throughout the day, with particular emphasis placed on a morning meal and a meal or large snack for recovery after training sessions. All athletes need a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat in their diets. Most calories should come from carbohydrate-rich foods, which are the body’s main source of energy, but taking care to get enough protein is also important. A normal adult’s RDA for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, but the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes get about double that, in the range of 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.