Nutrition for Exercise

Friday Mar 19, 2010

What is the role of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in exercise?

How much of each should be consumed?

What about endurance vs. strength training?

Let’s start with the Carbohydrates…

Muscles require carbohydrates as a fuel source during exercise (the body converts carbohydrates into glycogen, which is the storage form of carbohydrates in the body).  Activities that are high in intensity and longer in duration use more glycogen than low intensity exercise. Higher carbohydrate diets are generally recommended for endurance athletes.  45-60% of energy in the diet should come from carbohydrates.  (Low carbohydrate diets will decrease your energy, and lower your athletic performance).

The proteins…

Proteins play many roles during and after exercise.  They are used for energy in the muscle and for building and repair of tissues following exercise.  Protein oxidation (use by the body) is increased during and following both endurance and strength training exercise, raising the protein requirements for active people.  The protein recommendations for endurance activities are 1.2-1.4 g / kg body weight, and for strength exercise is slightly higher at 1.6-1.7 g / kg body weight.

Finally, the fats…

Exercise is a strong stimulator of fat lipolysis (breakdown).  The amount of fat lipolysis that occurs during exercise depends on several factors such as; fitness level, type, intensity, and duration of the exercise.  Enhancing one’s level of fitness is the primary factor that appears to enhance fat lipolysis during exercise.  20-25% of energy from fat are generally recommended for active individuals (Healthy fats, non or very low trans or saturated fats!).  Extremely low fat diets (<15% of energy) appear to offer no health or performance benefit.

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2 Comments »

It was refreshing to learn that fats are actually necessary and should not be avoided completely. But not all fats are alike. What are some good and bad fats? Which ones should we look for and which ones should we avoid?

March 21st, 2010 | 6:07 pm
Edgardo Savery:

This is great post with lot of info. Thanks from healthy dieting team.

March 26th, 2010 | 3:11 am
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