- Training Tips
- Cells and Bones
- Joints and Muscles
- Movement and Muscle Fibers
- Energy Production in the Body
- The Cardio-respiratory System
- Nutrition and Calories
- Nutrients, Proteins and Carbohydrates
- Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, Water and Fiber
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The International Amateur Athletics Federation
Around the Track and
Fats are very a concentrated source of energy.
Fats provide twice as much energy as carbohydrates but it is not as good as
carbohydrates because it is digested very slowly and uses a lot of oxygen to
produce the energy. Fat is stored under the skin adn inside the muscles.
Fat as an energy reserve is necessary to carry fat-soluble vitamins around
the body. Fats can be found in animal and vegetable foods as well as butter,
margarine, plant oils and fish oils. Diets that are high in fat can lead to
obesity, heart disease and cancer.
Vitamins are needed in the body daily but in tiny amounts. Even slightly
low vitamin levels can reduce athletic performance. If a vitamin is low or
missing from your diet you could become ill. There are two types of vitamins,
fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body
and ready to use. Water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored so they need to
eaten everyday in our food. Any water-soluble vitamins not used by the body
are eliminated as waste.
Minerals are also needed in tiny amounts. They include calcium, sodium,
potassium, iron and iodine. They are essential for the proper function of
nerves and muscles and help build body structures such as bone, teeth,
muscle and skin.
The need for Water
Athletic performance is affected immediately is there is a lack of water.
A person can live for weeks without food, but a person will die in a few
days without water. Water is one of the most important nutrients required
by the body. About two-thirds, almost 70%, of our body is made up of water.
Each cell in our body contains water. Blood is mostly water. When you train,
you lose water through sweat. You sweat to cool down your body. Dehydration
is when the water that the body loses is not replaced. Thirst is a feeling
we get when our body needs more water. Of course, by the time you feel thirsty
it's already too late! Thirst means that the body is already dehydrated and
performance is being reduced. So drink often and in small amounts before,
during and after competition or training. Don't drink ice cold water because
that will cause stomach problems. And don't drink sweet and fizzy drinks.
Sweat also contains small amounts of potassium, calcium and magnesium but since
our diets are so high in salt there is no need to add salt to your diet.
Finally, there is fiber. Fiber is not absorbed by the body and it is found
in every plant cell. Fiber is important in our daily diet because it acts
as a natural laxative. Foods rich in fiber make you feel full without making
you fat. Unfortunately, processed foods such as white rice, white flour and
white pastas have had so much of their fiber removed that they are not as
good for you.