Australian Sport - A Winning Diet for Sport - Part 5

Uploaded by ausport on 04.02.2010

“Unless sweat losses are replaced during exercise an athlete will become dehydrated.
Most of us know that severe levels of dehydration have a dramatic affect on exercise performance.
But even small fluid losses reduce performance and increase your feeling of effort. Of course
the effects at lower levels are more subtle; you may not notice dehydration slowly eating
away at your performance. However, well before the effects seem obvious your work output
has dropped and your skills and concentration has deteriorated. A good fluid intake is a
crucial part of your competition strategy and you’ll be pleased that you’ve practiced
this in training.”
“In an ideal world an athlete would drink enough fluid to cover all sweat losses during
your event. However in the real world of sport this is not usually practical or possible.
A realistic goal is to use all opportunities to drink what is practical and comfortable
in your sport. At best, most athletes replace only fifty percent of their fluid loses during
the event so there is plenty of room for improvement. Each sport offers different opportunities
to drink and different factors that limit fluid intake. In most team and court sports
there are formal breaks in sessions of play which provide a perfect time to grab a drink.
In some codes the player can also drink during quite passages of the game, or informal breaks
in play. Important strategies to promote fluid intake include making sure that drinks are
available within easy reach. Individual drink bottles are a great idea to make each athlete
responsible and aware of their own intake. Continuous events such as running, cycling
and triathlon races pose a special challenge. Although a network of aid stations may provide
supplies to competitors. Fluid intake must occur literally on the run. Many athletes
are reluctant to take time out to slow down and grab a drink, others may be fearful that
fluids drunk on the move might cause gastric upsets. Both problems can be overcome with
practice and creative drinking strategies. With special drink bottles and fluid delivery
systems. You can learn to grab a drink or consume fluids without loosing a stride or
your aerodynamic position. Remember that lost time can be made up by better performance,
due to better hydration. A special issue to note is that one side effect of dehydration
is an increase risk of gastric upsets. Some players, who feel sick or uncomfortable after
stopping for a fluid break, often blame the drink for their problems. The real problem
however, is dehydration cause by not drinking sooner.”
“You may have experienced the feeling of ‘running out of legs’ or running low on
fuel during your competition. This is typical in prolonged events that require athletes
to exercise at high intensities for many hours. You might know the feeling as ‘hitting the
wall’ or perhaps ‘bonking’. But you can also run out of fuel in shorter events
or games. When these are part of a busy competition schedule, such as road trips or tournaments.
When workouts or events are closed together, it can be hard to fully refuel in between.
You can provide extra fuel by consuming carbohydrate during the event. This strategy has been shown
to benefit performance in events lasting longer than ninety minutes. Recent research has shown
that enhancements might also occur in events as little as one hour duration. You should
experiment to see if carbohydrate intake works for your sport and for you.”
“Some athletes eat food during their event to provide extra carbohydrate fuel. Fruit,
sports bars and confectionary items are popular choices. However one disadvantage of solid
foods is that they may cause stomach discomfort, particularly during high intensity exercise.
Sports drinks provide an alternative and a more practical way to refuel during exercise.
The special formula or fluid, carbohydrate and electrolytes has been developed to taste
good for exercising people. Promoting an increase in fluid intake for its first advantage. The
formula also provides efficient delivery or carbohydrate, while rehydrating the athlete.
Some people think that sports drinks are only useful to elite athletes, since they are more
expensive then plain water it is important to consider if they provide value for money.
The answer concerns nutritional needs, rather than sporting talent. If you are involved
in a sport in which you are sweating and depleting fuel stores then a sports drink provides a
simple answer to meet your special needs. Good use of a sports drink will improve your
endurance and performance. This represents value whether the outcomes a gold medal, a
personal best or simply enjoyment of an exercise session. Never the less if expense is a problem
a cordial mix can provide a cheaper option.”