The foods we eat contain nutrients.
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are considered macronutrients because we need a substantial amount of all three every day to keep our bodies operating smoothly. Macronutrients provide us with energy but they also have other important functions.
Macronutrients are the three basic components of every diet.
The acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges (AMDR) are:
- 45–65% of your daily calories from carbs
- 20–35% from fats
- 10–35% from protein
This distribution can change especially for athletes depending on the sports or events that they are training for. Also, it can change depending on the periodization of each individual athlete.
Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel. They are vital for energy production and peak athletic performance.
This major macronutrient is required in adequate amounts to help spare protein reserves needed for muscle growth, maintenance, and repair. They help the body burn fat more efficiently than protein. Carbohydrates are required in highest amounts versus other macronutrients. However, without adequate carbohydrate and fluid, an athlete will get tired very easily and quickly.
Protein is needed to build and repair muscles.
Accordingly, athletes require more protein in their diets for muscle repair and athletic performance. The more lean body mass an athlete has the more protein they require for muscle cells. However, this can change daily or seasonally. The amount of protein will also differ from athlete to athlete depending on sport or activity and the muscle fibre composition/development that the athlete has. For example, it depends on whether they are a powerlifter or a long-distance runner.
Fats or lips are a major source of fuel.
They act as the energy storehouse in the body. Endurance athletes need fats in greater amounts. More particularly, the more conditioned a person is, the more fats they will need in their diet.
However, sports nutrition is more than fats and carbohydrates to fuel activity and protein for mending muscles. Also, all of the vitamins and minerals play a vital role in helping our bodies to be the best they can be. These vitamins and minerals are the micronutrients that our bodies require. Even more so in the case of athletes as they can be depleted during exercise and/or required in greater amounts to help with recovery and tissue repair induced by athletic performance.