Nutrition Basics: Part I

September 21, 2010

Must See Nutrition Videos

Deciphering the information in a food label can be tricky, especially for someone who hasn’t spent significant time studying nutrition. For an athlete, understanding nutrition is critical to developing a proper eating plan. Also, the advice you hear every day about nutrition may not always be appropriate for athletes focused on performance. This post breaks down the major components of nutrition to get you started on selecting the best foods to maximize your game-time potential.

The daily requirements listed below are recommended for athletes.

Calories: A calorie is a measure of energy stored in food. Your body needs calories to function. Low level activity and bodily functions require about 1,750 calories a day, depending on the person. For active athletes, energy requirements are much higher, so more food must be eaten to fill the energy gap.
Daily requirement: 2,800 - 5,000 calories

Protein: Protein provides the building blocks for your muscles, so it’s critical to consume sufficient amounts if you want to perform at your best or make strength gains. In addition, protein can be used as an energy source, and it’s vital for other bodily function, such as hormone creation.
Daily requirement: .8 - 1.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight*

Carbohydrates: Carbs are your primary energy source, providing instant and long-lasting fuel. It’s important to eat enough carbs to ensure that your body does not use protein as an energy source,which can sabotage your performance or reduce potential strength gains.
Daily requirement: 5 - 6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight*

Fat: Fat functions to store energy and provide protection for your organs. Although eating fat is often associated with an unhealthy diet, this isn’t necessarily true for athletes. Totally avoiding fats, which are often present in nutrient-rich foods, can lead to a lack of energy and malnutrition. Avoid trans fat and saturated fat, particularly the kind found in some processed food and animal fat, and opt for foods with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as extra virgin olive oil and most types of nuts.
Daily requirement: 30% of caloric intake

Check back next week for "Nutrition Basics: Part II," a breakdown of common vitamins and minerals.

*To find weight in kilograms, divide bodyweight in pounds by 2.2. For example, 198 lbs. / 2.2 = 90 kg.

Topics: PROTEIN | BURN FAT
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,523
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,325
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,267,361
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,450,145
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,117,693
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 895,904
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,240
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,255

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

You diet hard all week, eating nothing but clean foods, train your butt off in the gym, and feel like you're making real progress. Then Saturday comes -...

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

The Boston Cannons' ‘Keep It Real’ Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons' 'Keep It Real' Eating Plan

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

YardBarker