There is wide-spread thought among those engaging in exercise that excess amounts of protein, supplements, vitamins, amino acids, energy bars/drinks and caffeine, to name a few, are necessary for optimal performance, endurance and strength. Optimal performance can be achieved with proper dietary intake along with common sense guidelines for managing fluid and nutrients. Once you know what types of fuel the body uses throughout the course of exercise you can better plan to meet your individual needs.
Three major nutrients fat, carbohydrate and protein can be used by the body for fuel. Protein is needed by the body for important functions such as immune function, fluid balance, hormones, transport proteins, blood clotting, visual pigments, and the growth and repair of all body tissues. Carbohydrates and fats cannot be used by the body for these purposes , they have their own special functions one of which is to supply energy in the form of calories. Fat supplies 9 calories per gram and carbohydrate and protein each supply 4 calories per gram. For optimal health we need a combination of all nutrients daily in our diets.
When exercising, the body uses both stored carbohydrate and fat for energy. When exercise begins, the body uses glucose in blood (blood sugar) and muscle glycogen (the stored form of carbo- hydrates we eat such as starchy foods, table sugar, fruits and milk.) The body can only store so much glycogen, any excess consumed will be stored as fat. Adequate oxygen needed to burn fat is not available for use for “fueling” exercise but becomes available as exercise continues at a comfortable rate. As fatigue sets in the body returns to using carbohydrate from muscle glycogen. The amount of glycogen available for storage is directly related to the amount of carbohydrate in the diet and the amount of training one does. This is where “carbohydrate loading “ becomes useful.
thick crust veg and cheese pizza
large turkey sandwich on 2 slices
whole wheat rolls
Moderate (40 min)
Moderate (40 min)
Moderate ( 20 min)
Light ( 20 min)
Go for it!
Tried and true meal
|175 Lbs Male|
Strength training athletes:
|0.8gm/kg body weight/day |
|63 gms prot/day
79-95 gms prot/day
From this we can see that nutrients and calories add up quickly and that we can indeed supply all of our energy needs by consuming whole fresh foods without resorting to supplements or gimmicks. The foundation of a healthy weight gain program is a combination of strength training and a high carbo- hydrate, high calorie diet with a gradual increase in calories for a slow, steady gain to prevent unwanted fat gain.