Nutrition to optimise performanceDom Taylor
Food and drink are the fuel that we use to power our bodies and so they make an enormous difference to energy and performance.
There is plenty of information sources on what to eat and drink before sport, but what about in the midst of a match or event itself?
When are energy drinks appropriate?
In some cases, for example, a 100m sprint, there is no need (and no time) to consume anything during the sport itself and eating and drinking can be done either before or after the event. However, a marathon, football match, or an all-day cycle race are very different and will require consideration of how to keep the body going throughout that time.
According to the professionals, exercising for an hour or more, is the point at which the body starts to need fluid replacement as much is lost due to sweat in that time.
Note: Consider if your child will require a sports drink or whether sufficient energy can be provided through a balanced meal and appropriate hydration throughout the day.
What do energy drinks include?
They are often made up of water, salt, carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose or maltodextrin) and citric acid to taste. Carbohydrates in the drinks help keep the body going and hold fatigue at bay – according to Gatorade, 6% carbohydrate is the optimum level for refreshing the body at speed during sport. Electrolytes and minerals like sodium and potassium are often lost through sweat during sport and sports drinks can replace these as you go, rather than leaving a deficit at the end of the session.
There has been quite a lot of talk about sports drinks at Activate Camps. Whether they work effectively and at what point are they actually appropriate for youngsters attending a sports camp or performance development camp.
However, the fact that many professional sports stars, influencers and sport ambassadors still continue to use them would suggest that they do have a benefit – if used correctly.
Did you know that it’s actually quite easy to make your own?
Mix fruit squash (not low sugar or low calorie) with a quarter of a teaspoon of salt for every 800ml of water and 200ml of juice. This provides around 6-7% carbohydrates, depending on the squash. Alternatively, you could combine maltodextrin powder (six teaspoons) with water (700ml), salt (a quarter of a teaspoon) and a squeeze of lemon for the same results – whilst cutting out all the additives.
Nutrition during sport is key to ensuring peak performance, particularly with sports that require more endurance. Not only can it help boost achievement but it will ensure a better all round experience too.
Activate Camps are a leading UK provider of active and inspiring childcare across the UK, including fun-filled sports development camps and residential camps. Available nationwide. Childcare vouchers accepted.