Nutrition Basics: Part I | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

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

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

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

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

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

The Boston Cannons'

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

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

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

The Case for Red Meat

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

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

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes