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...
Must See
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 6,079,291
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 546,272
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,723

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 68,298
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 6,362
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 127,960
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

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,654
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,225
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,612
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,718
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,560,472

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

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

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

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

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Case for Red Meat

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

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

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

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

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

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

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

The Boston Cannons'

Why You Should Always Say No to Diet Foods

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

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

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?