Athletes can find that bread is an excellent source of carbohydrates to help complement their diet and exercise regime. To make the most of all the benefits that exercise offers it is recommended that you adopt a nutrition plan suitable for athletes, which would allow you to:
– Optimize your physical performance
– Train in the most effective way
– Avoid injuries
– Promote your overall health
Professional athletes, as well as people who practice recreational sports on a regular basis, could benefit from a diet rich in carbohydrates before, during, and after both training and competition.
According to Dr. Jo Travers, a British nutritionist, carbohydrates in the form of glucose are the primary source of energy for all cells of the body; for which reason they are essential for musculoskeletal functions, and in addition they permit the construction of energy stores within muscle fibers. These energy stores are called glycogen and are utilized during physical activity.
Diets that provide adequate energy and include a variety of foods rich in carbohydrates help to:
- Satisfy the nutritional needs of the athlete.
- Maintain an ideal body weight.
- Build the type of body appropriate for the specific discipline that the athlete practices.
The International Olympic Committeehas recommended the following when considering the role of carbohydrates in an athlete’s diet:
- During high intensity training, particularly those of longer duration, athletes should consume an adequate quantity of carbohydrates for their individual needs and to ensure that carbohydrate deposits are restored during recuperation and rest periods, whether between training sessions and/or between competitions and events.
- For competitions and events that last an hour or more, athletes should start adequate provisioning of carbohydrates, which they can achieve by consuming foods rich in carbohydrates (such as bread and whole grains) during days prior to, and the hours leading up to the event.
- The ingestion of small quantities of carbohydrates during the 60 minutes of doing exercise (be it training or warm-up) can improve a person’s cognitive function and increase their physical performance. This is particularly interesting for those who practice high intensity interval training (HIIT) or sports that require an intense level of physical effort like athletics, cycling, football, tennis, basketball or volleyball.
- For sporting events that last 3 or more hours it is necessary for the individual to increase their ingestion of carbohydrates to 90 grams per hour (90 g/h). It is therefore recommended that athletes become accustomed to consume carbohydrates during training sessions to help find the ideal combination of drinks and foods for their specific needs. An example of these being resistance competitions such as marathon, pentathlon, and decathlon.
- Finally, it is recommended that you aspire to eat foods rich in carbohydrates that maximize the absorption of nutrients in the intestine and that at the same time minimize digestive disorders.
In conclusion, bread is a food rich in simple and complex carbohydrates which can make it ideal for an athlete’s diet.