Sports nutrition


Importance in performance

According to a definition from the INSEP; The dietary balance of the sportsperson allows to better support training sessions to get better, not to switch into overwork / overtraining, to avoid the risks of injuries, to better recover after training sessions and competitions and stabilizes its weight, all of which contribute to a progression in performance throughout the season.

In recent years, our diet has been increasingly poor in nutrients. As the table below shows, because of production methods, food provides us with less and less nutrients.

Some examples of micronutrients usefulness :

  • - Selenium is important because it's active in 300 interactions in the body.
  • - Magnesium is used for muscle contraction and neurons.
From 1950 to the present day
Apple 100 times less vitamin C.
Potato 45% less iron and 35% less calcium.
Broccoli 80% less copper.
Orange 21 times less vitamin A.

To overcome this problem, you can eat organic food, which contains about 40% more nutrients, compared to food produced with pesticides.
Besides, today, the sportsman's diet is too rich in energy and too poor in micronutrients.
So that micronutrients are better assimilated, remember to chew well before swallowing.

Sportsman, an individual apart

The training causes changes in the body that must be taken into consideration :

Before the effort After the effort
Water status Normal Decreased
Digestive circulation Normal Lowered
Immunity Normal Lowered
Protein balance Normal Negative
Glycogen Saturated Out of stock
Acid / base balance Slightly alkaline + or - acid
Cell integrity Preserved Radical attacks

Sport causes changes in the body functioning and mainly :

  • - An increase in nutrient and micronutrient needs.
  • - An increase in "oxidative stress".
  • - An acidity increase.
  • - Digestive fragility.

Acidity :

The body works in a slightly alkaline PH environment (around 7.4).
The food we consume is broken down into small molecules by digestion and these have an accidifying or basifying action on the body.
By consuming too many addictive foods, an acidic environment settles in addition to the acidity produced by sport.

To counter this acidity, which can be the cause of injuries, the body consumes its reserves of vitamins and minerals to restore a favorable environment.
You have to be careful, because in extreme cases, the body can get the nutrients it lacks directly from the bones, which can eventually lead to osteoporosis or fatigue fractures.

Accidifying foods to consume moderately are :

  • - Animal proteins, especially meat.
  • - Dairy products.
  • - The cereals.
The basifying foods to favor are :

  • - Fruits.
  • - Vegetables.

Ideal distribution diagram :
schema repartition
You can add sodium bicarbonate to the water you drink every day (1 teaspoon per liter of water). This will lower the acidity.

To learn more about acidifying or basifying foods, you can look at the PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load) index on the internet.
If the PRAL is greater than zero, the food is considered to be acidifying, if it's negative, the food is considered to be alkalizing and the value "zero" signifying neutrality.

Fatty acids :

Our current diet provides on average too much omega 6 compared to omega 3 (40 to 1 ratio). We have to get closer to the harmonious omega 6 / omega 3 ratio of 4 to 1.
Omega 6s are pro-inflammatory while Omega 3s are rather anti-inflammatory.
Here is a summary of the different edible oils available and their omega 6 / omega 3 ratio.

Types of oil Omega 6 / Omega 3 ratio
Sunflower 124
Corn 59
Grape seeds 43
Peanut 42
Isio 4 39
Soy 8
Nuts 5.2
Primrose 4.5
Rapeseed 2.4

We can see that the best oil to improve the ratio is rapeseed oil, which also has the advantage of being cheap.

  • Do not cook rapeseed oil which becomes harmful if it's heated.
    Choose an organic oil and drink about 2 tablespoons a day.

Oxidative stress :

Sport, with increasing oxygen consumption during training, is a major supplier of free radicals. The molecules called free radicals attack the body permanently and cause cell damage.

Oxidative stress is caused by the imbalance between the free radicals attack and the body defense capabilities, which are very largely dependent on micronutrient status.
If oxidative stress becomes too important, it can cause injury.

To adequately combat oxidative stress, you need to supply the body with enough antioxidant elements.

Pyramids of the main antioxidants need

A rich and varied diet of organic fruits and vegetables generally meets the needs of athletes, but it's possible to supplement the intake with antioxidant supplements for those who do a lot of sport (more than 10 hours per week).

I also advise you to take spirulina tablets after each hard workout (interval training, long run). Recovery is much better with the help of spirulina which reduces the general fatigue linked to the training.

The case of endurance sports

Phenomenon "Ischemia - Reperfusion"

This phenomenon, mainly linked to endurance sports activity, leads during exertion, of a movement of blood from the viscera to the muscles to supply them.
After the effort, the blood returns to the viscera suddenly and attacks the intestinal mucosa.
By dint of repetition, this aggression leads to digestive disorders on exertion and often at rest.

To combat this phenomenon, you should drink regularly from the beginning and until the end of the effort, a drink composed of :

  • - Carbohydrates as maltodextrine.
  • - Glutamine.
  • - Amino acids type BCAA.
  • - Alkalizing minerals.
Studies have shown that this type of drink, in addition to the protective action on the intestine, improves endurance performance. It's therefore advised to use it as soon as your session is more than 40 minutes.

Basic food

The daily plate for better energy should consist of :

  • - Balanced proteins, 50% from animal sources and 50% from vegetable sources.
  • - A mix of rapeseed oil (80%) and olive oil(20%).
  • - Vegetables and fruits in quantities.
  • - Oilseeds (nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, ...).
  • - Sources of starchy foods (wholemeal bread, whole grains, semolina, pasta, ...).
  • - 2-3 squares of dark chocolate (70% minimum).
  • - Waters with lots of bicarbonates in it.

However, avoid :

  • - Caffeinated drinks (which create a leak of magnesium).
  • - Cookies and sweets (too much sugar).
  • - Cakes and pastries (too much sugar and fat).
  • - Sweet drinks (too much sugar).

  • I don't say it will be easy, I says it will worth it.

  • If you want something you've never had, you'll have to do what you've never done before.

  • Your attitude matters more than your abilities. Zig Ziglar

  • Motivation is when dreams put on their work clothes. Benjamin Franklin

  • Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill

  • I do it because I can. I can because I want it. I want it because I'm told that I can't.

  • If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success. Will Smith

  • Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get. W. P. Kinsella

  • Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so. Belva Davis

  • Go to the end of things before giving up.

  • Not having tried is worse than failure.

  • Every expert was once a beginner.

  • If you don't succeed the first time, shake and try again. Aaliyah

  • Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Henry Ford

  • Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. Henry Ford

  • Crying can give you sympathy, sweat will give you results. Laurent Vicente

  • Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. Henry Ford

  • Crying can give you sympathy, sweat will give you results. Laurent Vicente

  • Don't think limits. Usain Bolt

  • Running is the only medicine that my legs and my head, but also my heart and my soul, need. Laurent Vicente

  • A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle. Bouddha

  • If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon. Zatopek

  • Is defeated only whoever believes it. Fernando de Rojas

  • I never lose. I either win or learn. Nelson Mandela

  • I often hear someone say I'm not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner. Bart Yasso

  • I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards. Alberto Salazar

  • May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. Irish Blessing

  • Your legs are not giving out. Your head is giving out. Keep going. Jillian Michaels

  • No matter how fast you run, you'll always be faster than those who sit on their couch. Richard Paradis

  • Ask yourself: « Can I give more? ». The answer is usually: « Yes ». Paul Tergat

  • The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start. John Bingham

  • Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. Oscar Wilde

  • No one ever drowned in sweat.

  • Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. Edward Stanley

  • Experience is a lantern that is worn on the back and that never shines the path. Confucius

  • It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. Lucius Annaeus Seneca

  • That little voice inside your head that says you can't do it, well... it's a liar!

  • Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.

  • Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

  • Each step count.

  • Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or your predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. William Faulkner

  • We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. Roger Bannister

  • You do not get to the summit by overtaking others, but by overtaking yourself.

  • Life's battles don't always go to the strongest or fastest man, but sooner or later the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can. Steve Prefontaine

  • To win a race, the swiftness of a dart availeth not without a timely start. Jean de la Fontaine

  • If you feels good racing an ultramarathon, don't worry, it will pass... Guillaume Millet

  • Never allow your fear to grow larger than your faith. Jillian Michaels

  • Why choose to fail when success is an option? Jillian Michaels