An athlete’s main source of energy comes from the nutrition and hydration consumed daily. Energy is measured in calories. An athlete’s nutrition intake must meet the training demands of his or her sport in order to ensure that energy is in balance. There are three components to energy: 1) Macronutrients - protein, carbohydrate and fat 2) Micronutrients - vitamins and minerals and 3) Hydration - the fluids consumed through food and beverage each day.
When energy from nutrition is in proper balance, an athlete is able to train, sleep, and think at the highest level. When energy is not in balance, an athlete may notice a decline in health and performance. Common symptoms include fatigue, constant hunger, poor sleep quality, sore muscles, a weakened immune system (reoccurring illness and injury), and the inability to increase strength or lean muscle mass as desired. Sports nutrition has a direct impact on energy. When an athlete works with a sports dietitian to design an individualized nutrition strategy, overall energy is in balance, thereby giving the athlete that 1% edge over the competition. Remember, when energy is meeting training demands, health is in order. When health is in order, optimal performance naturally follows suit.