Food for top-notch performance

Diet conscious

When it comes to diet, every athlete keeps a check on it. Mindful eating is an unavoidable aspect of their lifestyle. A proper and balanced diet helps them maintain their body weight and health that directly affects   their performance. However, every player has different requirements based on their body type.

Roberto Carlos, head coach of Delhi Dynamos team of Indian Super League 2015, says, “It is very important for a player to take care of his diet.  A balanced diet is a key to their health and helps them to be in shape. Also, every professional player has to follow an individual menu. Because each of them have different needs. We have to provide the amount of nutrients needed for them according to the intensity of each training sessions. Some of them need to improve their strength, others have to lose weight.”

Healthy eating helps build strength, sustain energy, and recover faster, which the players can’t give a miss. And this can be gained only when all the nutrients of their food are intact in a certain proportion.

Dr Chirag Sethi, nutritionist and fitness expert at Anytime Fitness, advises, “For them, carbo-loading is important. Carbohydrates intake of the players should be higher and should be refueling it with glucose or carbohydrates stores after their game. They should take 6 to 8 gms of carbohydrates per kg of their body weight. Additionally, 60 -100 gms carbohydrates intake per kg of their body weight is advisable post game. Protein should also be included in their diet, equally divided in all the meals, 1.2 - 1.7 gm of protein per kg of body weight is ideal. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E help protect against oxidative stress and free radicals that form in the body during strenuous physical activity. Artificial sweeteners have no place in the diet.”

But cooking food, while maintaining all the nutrients in proportion is not so easy. One has to be sure of the quantity and quality of the food to be served to these highly active set of people.

“A lot of things are kept in mind while we plan for their meal that includes their health, digestion, preferences etc. Sportsmen/ women during game days are very disciplined eaters. They know what they want and are very specific in their needs.

Hence, we plan for their meals as per their schedule and serve them sharp on time. But the most important meals are the pre-match meals where it is a high protein and high carb diet, including grilled chicken (white meat only) and lots of Pasta which has to be taken three hours before the start of a match,” Chef Rohit Tokhi, executive chef, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi.

One question that might arise is that while off the field and practice sessions, do the players follow the same diet? Answers Chicao, defender Delhi Dynamos, “No. I don’t follow the same diet. When I’m on vacation, I skip a bit and eat whatever I feel like.”

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