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A Weightlifters Diet
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From Issue 30 – Dieting Advice
A WEIGHTLIFTER’S DIET
By Nikos Skiadas, Hellenic Weightlifting Federation General Secretary, Greece
Recent studies have shown that the diet of an athlete is a very important factor in his/her performance and good training conditions. The diet of the athlete has two purposes, first to cover caloric and nutrient needs and secondary to maintain fluid balance in the body. Situations and conditions specific to sport training and sport participation often make meeting these objectives difficult.
To provide nutritional information to athletes in the context of real recommendations, physicians have to consider not only the science behind the nutritional requirements but also the athlete’s lifestyle, training program, preferences, and factors specific to the sport.
Most of the studies for sport nutrition have been conducted on subjects participating in aerobic activities of long duration. Since the majority of the athletic events are anaerobic and require sudden bursts of effort separated by periods of relative rest, such as weightlifting, the widely published and often repeated guidelines may not be the best recommendations for athletes participating in anaerobic sports.
Energy requirements depend on body size, period of training, training conditions, age, and non-training activity level, with body size being the primary determinant. There is a wide range of energy intakes when comparing athletes participating in the same sport because the intake depends on body weight. The intake limits are from 28-kcal/ kg body weight to 65-kcal/ kg body weight depending on the sport, although some athletes have been reported to need 12,000 kcal per day.
Some competitive sports require adherence to rigid weight standards. Athletes who participate in these sports must closely monitor their weight and thus their caloric intake. Too often this leads to nutritional abuses, dehydration, and serious health risks. In addition, the dietary tactics used by some athletes to achieve excessive weight loss are of increasing concern because of the potential association with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
The athlete’s diet should contain a relative balance of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Of the total calories consumed, the recommended balance for most athletes is…
Although all foods can ultimately be broken down to carbohydrate, fat, or protein, these nutrients are not all that the body needs.
Without a metabolic chamber it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine calorie requirements of an athlete accurately due to day-to-day, season-to-season and athlete-to-athlete variation. A practical rule to determine the requirements is to check the body weight of the athlete. If the body weight is stable, the athlete’s energy intake is equal to the energy output. It is desirable to have the athlete record everything consumed for 3 consecutive days. The results of this record should give an estimate of energy requirements in the presence of a stable body weight. A simple rule to determine energy needs is to multiply the athlete’s body weight by one of the following numbers:
After determining, multiply the number by 2.2. For example, a male athlete with a body weight of 95kg and a heavy activity level needs 4807 kcal (95kg X 23 = 2185, 2185 X 2.2 = 4807 kcal)
The remainder of the article looks at the Nutrient Requirements covering Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats, Vitamins, and fluid intake.