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Whether youre a professional athlete or just play on a rec team your stamina endurance strength and performance are affected by what you eat To maximize athletic performance a varied and balanced diet is essential The six classes of nutrients protein carbohydrates fat vitamins minerals and water work together to supply the body with the energy They build and maintain body cells and to regulate body processes The most efficient source of energy for an athlete is carbohydrate found in breads cereals potatoes pasta rice fruit and starchy vegetables These foods are broken down into glucose which is the primary source of energy for the muscles during exercise Glucose not used immediately for energy is stored in the liver as glycogen High glycogen stores are essential to athletes in endurance sports and long training sessions A high carbohydrate diet usually more than 10 servings keeps the glycogen stores high Lack of stamina and fatigue is often seen in athletes who consume inadequate amounts of carbohydrates Water although not a source of energy is essential to replenish fluids lost to sweating Fluids should be provided before during and after exercise About 60 percent of body weight is water and its most important function is as a coolant Most people think that what the athlete eats the day before or day of a game is the most important and will affect his or her energy level the most but this is not true The meal that athletes eat two to three days before a competition is essintial for providing the nesseccary nutrients and energy for peak proformance These meals fill muscles with glycogen By the time athletes go to bed the night of the competition their bodies already have the glycogen stores they will use for competition Thus the meals eaten the day of the competition will not do much to increase glycogen in the muscles The main purpose of a pre-game meal the
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