High-intensity Athletes

Generally, high intensity athletes should follow these nutrition recommendations5:

  1. Consume 6-12 g/kg of body weight of carbohydrates to maximize glycogen stores and athletic performance
  2. Consume 1.5-1.7 g/kg of body weight in protein
  3. Consume no more than 2 g//kg of body weight in fats

Nutrient timing has also been found to be beneficial to maximizing the performance-enhancing aspects of nutrients. The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) issued a position statement on nutrient timing and can be found here.

The following point summarizes their position on nutrient timing5:

  1. Nutrient timing is the use of methodical planning and eating of whole foods, fortified foods, and dietary supplements.
  2. Endogenous glycogen stores are maximized by following a high-carbohydrate diet
  3. If rapid restoration of glycogen is required (less than 4 hours of recovery time) then consider these strategies:
    1. aggressive carbohydrate refeeding with an emphasis placed on sources with a high glycemic index
    2. the addition of caffeine
    3. combining carbs with protein
  4. Extended (greater than 60 minutes) of high-intensity exercises challenge fuel supply and fluid regulation. Carbs should be consumed at a rate of around 30-60 g of carbs/h using a 6-8% carbohydrate-electrolyte solution. This adds up to 6-12 fl oz every 10-15 minutes for the duration of the exercise
  5. Meeting the total daily intake of protein, with evenly spaced protein feedings (app. every 3 h throughout the day) should be emphasized by athletes
  6. Ingestion of essential amino acids either in free form or in a protein bolus of 20-40 g has been shown to maximize the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis
  7. Pre-and/or post-exercise nutritional interventions (carbs
    +protein or only protein) may be an effective strategy to support increases in strength and improvements in body composition.
  8. Post-exercise ingestion (immediately to 2h post-exercise) of high-quality protein sources stimulates large increases in muscle protein synthesis
  9. Ingesting a 20-40 g protein dose of a high-quality source every 3 to 4 hours appears to be most effective on muscle protein synthesis rates when compared to other dietary patterns and it is associated with improved body composition and performance outcomes
  10. Consuming casein protein prior to sleep can acutely increase muscle protein synthesis and metabolic rate throughout the night without influencing lipolysis.

Foods to consider to meet your nutrition recommendations6:

  • Carbohydrates
    • wholemeal bread
    • brown rice and pasta
    • potatoes
    • wholegrain cereals and porridge
    • couscous and noodles
  • Proteins
    • Lean meat and poultry
    • Fish such as salmon and tuna
    • Eggs
    • Low-fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt
    • beans and lentils
    • Nuts (unsalted)
  • Fats
    • Fats consumed should be unsaturated fats. These can be either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated
    • Monounsaturated fats can be found in foods such as avocados, olive oil, cashews, or almonds
    • Polyunsaturated fats can be found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. They can also be found in seeds such as pumpkin seeds
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