Generally, high intensity athletes should follow these nutrition recommendations5:
- Consume 6-12 g/kg of body weight of carbohydrates to maximize glycogen stores and athletic performance
- Consume 1.5-1.7 g/kg of body weight in protein
- 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:
- Nutrient timing is the use of methodical planning and eating of whole foods, fortified foods, and dietary supplements.
- Endogenous glycogen stores are maximized by following a high-carbohydrate diet
- If rapid restoration of glycogen is required (less than 4 hours of recovery time) then consider these strategies:
- aggressive carbohydrate refeeding with an emphasis placed on sources with a high glycemic index
- the addition of caffeine
- combining carbs with protein
- 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
- Meeting the total daily intake of protein, with evenly spaced protein feedings (app. every 3 h throughout the day) should be emphasized by athletes
- 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
- 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.
- Post-exercise ingestion (immediately to 2h post-exercise) of high-quality protein sources stimulates large increases in muscle protein synthesis
- 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
- 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:
- wholemeal bread
- brown rice and pasta
- wholegrain cereals and porridge
- couscous and noodles
- Lean meat and poultry
- Fish such as salmon and tuna
- Low-fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt
- beans and lentils
- Nuts (unsalted)
- 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