How Athletes Can Balance Protein and Carbohydrate Needs

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How Athletes Can Balance Protein and Carbohydrate Needs

The ultimate question in any athlete’s mind is how to properly balance his or her intake of nutrients. It’s actually a fairly complex problem, because there are conflicting ideas at work that can confuse even the most dedicated athlete.

For example, you want carbohydrate for energy, but too much carbohydrate can make you lethargic or make you crash. If you focus on a lot of protein, your body won’t have a readily available source of energy because it takes longer to break down protein than carbohydrate.

Athletes need a different type of diet than a weightlifter, because an athlete is interested more in speed and endurance than in bulk. However, most athletes do resistance training as well, and they use up muscle aerobic movement too, so how much protein do they need?

The answer to the question of what athletes should do is based on what is most healthy. Protein is what builds up muscle; fat is needed for your hormones, nervous system, and brain; and carbohydrate is the quickest way to provide energy for your daily activity and to maintain a constant supply of blood sugar to the brain. If you are missing any of these nutrients, or don’t have them in adequate quantities, you will suffer from ill health, or at least less health than you could enjoy.

Nutrients and Metabolism

At each meal, you should have a balance of the three different macronutrients. If you had just carbohydrates, for example, your body would be missing protein nutrients that slow down the breakdown of carbohydrate into sugar, and you would find yourself starving soon after you ate. You also wouldn’t be providing your body with the building blocks to restore and add muscle after you exercise, either. Plus, it’s harder to fill up on carbohydrate than protein, making it likely that you’ll eat more than you should.

This illustrates the importance of balance in your diet.

Diet also depends on timing. An athlete who is about to go on a race should have a large supply of carbohydrate to run on, so that he doesn’t run out of energy. However, without protein to make the sugar break down more slowly, he might find himself with a burst of speed and then a blood sugar crash. Obviously, this isn’t a good outcome.

The other major factor is an athlete’s particular metabolism. Some people simply burn calories faster than others. If you know that you have a very fast metabolism, you will probably need protein to offset the speed of breaking down sugar for energy. Someone whose metabolism is not quite as fast might get by with mostly carbohydrate.

The Supplements

Also, never forget why you eat. It’s not just about being the best athlete or looking good. It’s about giving your body the nutrients it needs. If you want to really be your best, you need to be getting all the essential nutrients.

This means possibly going for an all-in-one supplement like the Universal Nutrition Animal Pak, or buying separate supplements if you know you’re getting most of what you need in your diet. However, do consider what your diet isn’t giving you and fill in the gaps.

For example, if you aren’t drinking orange juice with breakfast, you might want to start taking Vitamin C. If you don’t eat fish fairly often, you might want some Optimum Nutrition Flaxseed Oil to get the essential fatty acids you’re missing.
Other supplements you might want include creatines like Bronx Wild Bull, chromium, green tea extract, a protein powder like Dymatize Elite, and anything that can assist you in reaching your goals as an athlete and a health enthusiast.

Supplements Plus offers the best range of supplements at the lowest prices, guaranteed. We’ll beat any advertised price in Australia and we offer free shipping for orders over 0! To view our range of products, visit Supplements.

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