A healthy and balanced diet has been proven to be one of the most important factors in the success of athletes. With the right selection of foods, the body of an athlete is supplied with energy that is necessary for effective training and competition.

Although it is often unreasonably ignored, proper nutrition is a very important factor that, with training, depends on the success of each athlete. In order to achieve an energy balance, the energy input must be equal to the energy consumption, and the consumption is different from the organism to the organism.

Today more than ever before achieving results in top-notch sports is followed by science. There is a myriad of talented, motivated, and well-trained athletes who are constantly “rammed up” between winning and the highest medal and a very small accident or injuries that the athlete will get out of the sport. Therefore, it is necessary for each person to agree with an individual diet plan that depends on sex, age, choice of sport.

Food is individually dependent on sex, age, sport, habits, and climate. Carbohydrates are the key energy-saving potential of athletes, and sufficient protein intake is indispensable for the construction and regeneration of muscles. Taking liquid Sports drinks before, during, and after exercise is especially important in hot summer months. Electrolytic beverages (salt!) should be taken with excessive sweating.

The daily energy consumption is divided into three components: basal metabolism, the thermal effect of food, and the thermal effect of activity. Briefly, basal metabolism shows the energy the body consumes in idle. While the thermal effect of food shows the energy consumed for absorption, metabolism, and storage of nutrients. On the contrary, there is a thermal effect of an activity that involves energy consumption due to physical activity, muscular activity, and voluntary physical activity.

Therefore, nutrition is one of the main factors for improving and maintaining mental and physical health, achieving a better appearance and greater energy ability to overcome everyday efforts.

Scientific nutrition guidelines for athletes who combine nutrition with exercise form an important part of any training program and the competitions of each athlete. Guidelines that are based on scientific evidence of the quantity, structure, and time of food consumption are important for athletes to provide more effective training in terms of reducing the risk of illness or injury. The energy balance achieved by the correct input of all macro and micronutrients allows for more effective training and recovery, and ultimately achieving a better result, regardless of which sport is.

Nutrition can improve athletic development, enable the athlete to have a good sporting performance, prevent injury and allow the athlete to maintain at the desired levels during and after the HEALTH CARE career.



The basic processes of energy release required for sport or intense physical effort are directly related to the intake of nutrients that have multiple values for the body. The energy needs of athletes are greater than those of inactive people due to greater effort. The daily needs of each energy athlete depend on different factors. The nutrition plan for athletes is created according to age, gender, genetics, the chosen sport.

A good diet helps to ensure that athletes are able to exercise intensively, quickly recover, and adapt metabolically to training in order to increase effectiveness. The energy required for this is derived from a variety of foods that provide carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and micronutrients.

In order to achieve an energy balance, the energy input must be equal to the energy consumption. How much food an athlete needs depends greatly on energy needs, but there is no simple formula to calculate this.

Harris-Benedict equations for women and men are most often calculated for energy needs (BMR), taking into account the height, weight, and age of persons:


BMR  = 655.1 + (9.563 x TM) + (1.850 x TV) – (4.676 x DOB),                            (3.1)

BMR  = 66.5 + (13.75 x TM) + (5.003 x TV) – (6.755 x DOB)                              (3.2)


In order to achieve an energy balance, the energy input must be equal to the energy consumption. Energy is obtained from carbohydrates, fats, proteins, liquids, and supplements introduced into the body. Energy consumption consists of three components – basal metabolism, the thermal effect of food, and the thermal effect of the activity.

If energy needs are equal to consumption, the body is in homeostasis. By further manipulation of the need-and-consumption ratio, we control growth or decrease in body weight, depending on the type of sport and needs.


The basic ingredients of food needed by athletes

A proper and well-balanced diet can be one of the crucial factors that make the difference between top and average athletes. The basic nutrition of an athlete is based on the rule of the pyramid. The proportion of carbohydrates in everyday diet should be 55-58%, fat 25-30%, and protein 12-15%. However, the reference to the limits is no longer valid when an athlete needs more than 4000 kcal per day.

The athlete is compensated for nutrients by meals and food supplements, which should be used exclusively when an athlete is not able to consume nutrients thoroughly through food.

Nutrients are an integral part of every food. They build organisms, metabolic substrates, and are participants in all chemical reactions in the body. There are six basic food ingredients whose balance is needed to achieve certain goals of athletes. These are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. And none of them can perform their function in the body unless there is an optimal amount of other nutrients.

Nutritional constituents that are contained in larger quantities in food, and are necessary for the construction of the organism, the regulation of its physiological processes, and represent the source of energy, are called macronutrients. In macronutrients, we put carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water. On top of the macronutrients, the organism also requires essential substances which, if they are not taken by food, can not be produced by the organism itself. In the group of micronutrients, ie essential substances, we include essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, and all vitamins and minerals.



  1. ENERGY-carbohydrates / fats / antioxidants
  2. CONSTRUCTION AND REGENERATORS of protein/amino acid
  3. VITALIZING substances – vitamins, minerals, enzymes … electrolytes
  4. PROTECTIVE SUBSTANCES – Nutraceuticals and Phytochemicals…
  5. TIRED PRODUCTS probiotics, antioxidants, vitamin oils.



Carbohydrates are large molecules built from carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They represent the primary source of energy for the body. By chemical composition, they are divided into simple (monosaccharides and disaccharides) and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides).

Taken in the agreed daily value (about 46-60%) allow for an appropriate energy response of the organism. They are stored in muscles and liver as stocks, glucose polymers in the form of GLYCOGEN (80 g liver, 300-400 g skeletal muscles).

In human nutrition, there are three more important carbohydrates, namely, disaccharides sucrose (plain sugar) and lactose (milk sugar), and various types of starch found in all plant foods.

Experts say LOADING CARBOHYDRATES not only enhances endurance but also the ability to work. Insufficient carbohydrate intake will cause low energy levels, reduced ability, loss of concentration, poor recovery, weight loss.

The recommended daily intake of carbohydrates in athletes is from 45 to 65% of the total calories needed by the organism.

The ideal carbohydrate intake before training or competition would be 3 to 5 g / kg TM. This amount is taken 3-4 hours before exercise will increase glycogen stores in the liver and muscles and help maintain the proper blood glucose concentration over a longer period of moderate to high-intensity exercise.



Key building elements of a living organism throughout the body. Proteins are chemically composed of amino acid chains that are interconnected by peptide bonds. They are the second most important ingredient in the body of our body and make up about three-quarters of the body’s dry matter. They can be structural, transport, or nucleoproteins, and some also perform the function of enzymes, essential in the physiological processes of all physical systems.

Proteins are divided into essential and non-essential, and more attention is attached to those essential because the body can not only synthesize them, which is why they need to be fed daily.

Opinions about protein intake in the body vary, and the recommended values range from 0.45 g / kg of body weight (which is considered the minimum) to over 3 g / kg mt. for extreme sports efforts (bodybuilding, weight lifting …). The energy value of 1 g of protein is 17 kJ (4 kcal).

There is a difference in the need for proteins depending on the type of sport. For example, a top marathon player requires 1.6 g / kg of body weight of protein, and a football player or disc player requires 1.4 g / kg – 1.7 g / kg of body weight. Generally, women have a protein intake of 10-20% lower than men. When planning the diet, g / kg of body mass is always calculated for greater precision.

Regarding the schedule of protein quantities per meal, breakfast and lunch should be 20%, for breakfast and lunch 10%, and for dinner 30% of daily protein intake. Space is left for 10% if recovery is required after a lot of training in the day.


By chemical, composition fat is triglycerides of fatty acids. In nature, liquid (oil) and rigid (grease) are distinguished. The richest source of energy is because 1 g of fat releases 38 kJ (9 kcal) of energy, which is twice as high as protein and carbohydrates. It serves as a solvent for vitamins A, K, E, D. They are a constructive element for important body structures (brain, tissue fat …).

By origin, lipids can be plants and animals. They are found in herbaceous plants, nuts, fatty tissue of animals, etc. Preferred omega-3 fatty acids are rich in bluefish and fish oil, while vegetable oils are the healthiest olive oil in which the vitamins are soluble in fats (A, D, E, and K), minerals, enzymes.

The role of lipids in the human body is extremely important. They enter the structure of cell membranes, make up the energy reserve in the body, serve as a source of heat protection and dissolve vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Lipids are divided into several subgroups, the most important of which are triglycerides, cholesterol, phospholipids, and some other groups that do not have such an important role in eating problems. By definition, lipids are substances that are soluble in organic solvents and not in water. Although they represent another energy source, their energy value of 39 kJ / g is significantly higher than the energy value of carbohydrates, which is only 17 kJ / g. Top athletes who currently need energy, are poorly consuming fat stores.



Clear non-flavored and odorless liquid consisting of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen (H2O). Water is an essential nutrient.

About 60% of human body weight makes WATER. Of the average five liters of our blood, even 85% of the water, it makes more than 80% of the brain, about 75% of the heart, 70% of the muscle, bones contain 22%, and teeth 10% of water.

Managing physical activity requires the recovery of significant amounts of fluid and hydration before, during, and after physical activity of a prominent meaning.

In the water, all cellular processes of degradation and construction take place, in which salts, or electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium), which regulate osmotic pressure in cellular and interstice spaces, dissolve. If the concentration of electrolytes in the interstitial spaces is reduced due to a lack of salt, there is increased water secretion.

Thanks to WATER, many nutrients are transmitted to the muscles, and by-products and harmful substances (toxins) are excreted from the body through the body’s fluids. It is important to maintain a constant volume of plasma tissue because the loss of water reduces the plasma volume and then there is a risk of damage to the cardiovascular system.

For a long time, a uniform method for estimating the amount of daily water intake was sought, and there was an indication of the unreserved connection between the daily energy needs and the needs for water intake. The same is shown in the table below;


Daily Energy Consumption;                                                                                          Minimum Daily Intake Water;


2000 kcal                                                                                                                                             2.0 do 2.5 liters

3000 kcal                                                                                                                                             3.2 do 3.6 liters

4000 kcal                                                                                                                                             4.1 do 4.5 liters

5000 kcal                                                                                                                                             5.1 do 5.7 liters

6000 kcal                                                                                                                                             6.0 do 6.6 liters





Given the increased warming of the body as well as the total accelerated metabolism during the physical activity of any character, it is clear that the need for water, which in this case has a multiplication role, is also increasing. It is therefore suggested that before the onset of physical activity the water intake should be increased, ie that two hours before the activity it takes 0.5 to 1 liter of water, depending on the body weight. In this way, quality hydration is certainly performed, and the body has enough time to expel the excess.



This problem should be carefully accessed each time you are in a situation that somehow depends on “performance quality”. Namely, any reduction in the ability of the body to cool will undermine the ability to perform ongoing activities. It is therefore advisable to inject 2 dl of water every 10 minutes during continuous activities.


It is clear that all forms of physical activity causes increased water utilization. An easy way to determine the value of lost fluid is weighing. Namely, as much weight as you have lost during the activity you can easily drink. An eventual excess organism will be released from one to two hours.


The leading role of carbohydrates in athletes dealing with aerobic activity, the importance of protein in the construction of muscle proteins of sprinters responsible for their explosiveness, and the combination of these two in the body of handballers proves the importance of proper nutrition in sports. Continuous scientific research is carried out at the expense of studying the influence of certain substances on sports performance, and how they can help prepare or recover athletes, just as they can harm it. The future implementation of scientific papers on nutrition is in many respects safe; the athletes will serve to get to know themselves, trainers will help in choosing how to plan training depending on the consumption of a particular type of food, and nutritionists in profiling athletes and getting to know his or her organism. All mentioned, included in the everyday life of a professional athlete, can contribute to its performance and improvement.

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