How to balance your calorie intake to achieve your sporting goals

2 MIN 29 March 2024

It is essential for athletes to pay attention to their calorie intake as a fundamental first step to ensuring their well-being and health and a vital part of maintaining their sporting performance high. For this reason, proper sports nutrition must introduce as many calories as are consumed. In order to do this, in addition to physical activity, athletes must maintain a proper, healthy and balanced diet.

Proper sports nutrition to ensure the right calorie intake 

In order to ensure adequate physical activity, it is essential to maintain a proper sports diet. Failing to maintain a proper diet creates a risk of eating too many calories, which then accumulate in our body, resulting in build-ups of fat which could affect our performance on the field, as well as causing long-term health problems for our body.

Ensuring a normal calorie intake allows you to increase muscle mass, without which there is a risk of reducing your sports performance and feeling tired and drowsy during your daily routine. Furthermore, according to research, adequate muscle mass allows you to burn more calories, even at rest.

If the aim of your sports diet is simply to lose weight, aerobic physical activity is also recommended, i.e. low intensity exercise for long periods, such as running, cycling or even simply walking long distances. However, regardless of what our objective is, we should always avoid following a do-it-yourself diet, turning instead to a professional in the field.

A balanced calorie intake to keep performance high

In order to improve their sporting performance, athletes must take in the right number of calories for their individual discipline. Clearly a martial arts athlete will need to consume a greater quantity than athletes involved in archery or clay pigeon shooting. In addition to the athlete’s basal metabolism, i.e. the calories burned through physiological function, the right all-round diet should therefore also consider the actual sport-specific energy expenditure.

In order to maximise your performance, the advice is to consume most of these added calories as carbohydrates, to be introduced both pre- and post-workout. It is also essential to provide our body with protein foods that ensure proper muscle function. An excellent solution is to eat wholemeal bread and jam with no added sugar before playing sports, followed by a salted beef sandwich after physical activity.

The signs of a calorie intake that is insufficient to cover our body’s requirements are far greater than just tiredness and poor performance on the field. A calorie deficit can cause prolonged pain, resulting from a lack of nutrients, and therefore also accidents or injuries, as both immune function and muscle repair depend on the energy and nutrients in food. Another symptom of insufficient calorie intake is dizziness, which is frequent when our body lacks energy.

However, there is good news because it isn’t hard to increase our daily calorie intake in a healthy way. Simply add some balanced snacks to your diet, such as a piece of fruit, a small cube of hard cheese or avocado on toast. A convenient alternative can be found in Cetilar® Nutrition’s Race Bars. These 60-gram balanced protein-energy bars are a quick and convenient solution containing the main macronutrients and two minerals in Sucrosomial® form: iron from SiderAL® and magnesium from UltraMag®, which ensure the right energy metabolism of our body.

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