Sports nutrition has come a long way since the days of the legendary ancient Olympian Milo of Croton (6th century B.C.), whose daily diet reportedly consisted of 20 pounds of meat, 20 pounds of bread and 18 pints of wine. Scientists, such as George Brooks from UC Berkeley, showed that carbohydrates are the most important fuel at exercise intensities above 65 percent of maximum effort. A 2010 report by the International Olympic Committee concluded that carbohydrate intake should match the demands of training and competition and may vary considerably during different times of the year. What we also know for a fact is that following a sensible, high-performance diet will make you a better athlete. Here are six general nutrition rules to help improve performance.
1. Consume nutrient–rich carbs (fruits, whole grains, etc.) in place of simple sugars with few nutrients
2. Protein intake for should be approximately 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram bodyweight per day
3. Consuming extra protein after exercise may promote strength gains and recovery from training, but may not be critical if daily protein intake is optimal
4. Caloric intake should reflect the metabolic demands of the sport
5. Vitamin D is important for muscle and bone health and is an important dietary consideration for athletes with limited sun exposure
6. Foods and supplements such as creatine monohydrate, beetroot juice and beta alanine show potential for improving performance
Source: Nutrition Today, 46: 197-202, 2011)