Nutrition Basics: Part I | STACK

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 an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

I Do Cardio Workouts But I'm Still Fat. What's Wrong?

I get asked this question all the time, over and over and people seem so adamant about how hard they are working to get lean n "toned" and that they...

How to Eat Healthy and Lose Weight

Slash Weight By Eating Right (Not Less)

Lose Belly Fat With 6 Stand-Up Exercises

3 Fat-Burning Treadmill Workouts

What's Up With Elite NBA Players Losing Weight?

Female Athlete Weight: How Low Is Too Low?

5 Easy Weight Loss Tips

Top 5 Reasons Why You're Not Losing Weight

Weight Loss and the Mediterranean Style Diet

Losing Weight Without Going to Extremes

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

6 Simple Tips to Help You Lose Belly Fat

A Weight Loss Workout That Works

How Lolo Jones Got Lean After Bobsledding

4 Ways to Heat Up Your Diet to Burn More Fat

Why Jogging Is Counterproductive

Diet for Wrestlers: 5 Tips to Lose Weight Safely

3 Unlikely Ways to Lose Fat

Top 5 Nutrients to Fight Stubborn Belly Fat

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

Leucine: Cutting Weight with the Alpha of the Aminos

6 Reasons Your Weight Fluctuates Every Day

Losing Fat: How to Stay Focused During the Holidays

Low-Carb Diet Plan

How to Use Cheat Meals to Lose Fat Fast

Lose Weight by Changing Your Diet

Size Does Matter: Understanding Power-to-Weight Ratio

Why Can't I Stop Gaining Weight?

4 Common Nutrition Questions Answered

4 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight

How Many Miles Did You Eat Today?

How to Eat What You Want and Still Lose Weight

The Missing Nutrient Needed For Weight Loss

3 Steps to Beat Belly Fat

Keys to a Successful Full-Body Transformation

The Lowdown on Losing Weight Without Detox

Melo Follows LeBron's Lead