Eating properly before your training periods, races, etc. is a key factor in being able to achieve your sporting objectives. Diet must be part of the schedule of your life as a sportsman, just like your training and your sleep. Here are 10 sports tips on nutrition to start, gently and simply…


1/ Tip 1 "Sport & nutrition": Take your meals at regular times  

This gives the body the regular energy intake it needs. Consequently, it can be adapted and it effectively manages the digestion of the food.


2/ Tip 2 "Sport & nutrition": Have breakfast

There are still too many sportsmen and women who do not eat breakfast. The importance of eating carbs and proteins at breakfast will influence the entire day. If the intake is insufficient, alertness, attention and concentration will drop partly due to hypoglycaemia. These effects will be more pronounced if the interval between breakfast and lunch is too long or if you train at lunchtime. This will have a damaging effect on the sports session as well as the recovery at the end of the activity. The following meal will be insufficient to compensate for the deficiencies caused by skipping breakfast.

3/ Tip 3 "Sport & nutrition": Have a varied and balanced diet

A varied diet covers almost all of the body's needs in terms of vitamins and minerals. The purpose of the diet is to keep you in good health, while also optimising your physiological capacities.


A balanced diet is not founded on a single meal but on several meals: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. It is made up of the following:

- Carbohydrates (pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, bread, etc.): at each meal in order to fill up your energy reserves.

- Meat, fish, eggs: 1 to 2 times a day for protein.

- Fruit and vegetables: at least 5 a day to provide water, vitamins and fibre;


- Dairy products: 3 a day for protein and calcium.

- Fat: it should be kept to a minimum without actually eliminating it altogether, as it provides lipids and vitamins.

- Sweet products: they must be kept to a minimum without necessarily eliminating them altogether. they are a source of pleasure and it is worth remembering that food is, first and foremost, a pleasurable experience (that needs to be managed ;-) )

- Water: there should be no restriction on the amount of water you drink.


4/ Tip 4 "Sport & nutrition": Hydration

Drinking regularly is the best way of avoiding dehydration. You need to drink before, during and after sports. Good hydration will help you to recover better. The consequences of dehydration are: a drop in performance, muscular accidents, digestive problems, etc. Water is the only drink that is essential for hydrating properly, however, for physical activities exceeding one hour, sports drinks can be really helpful.


5/ Tip 5 "Sport & nutrition": Provide fuel for the muscles at each meal

Physical activity uses up a lot of energy, so it is important to replenish it regularly. The types of food that provide energy are starchy foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates. For maximum effect, they should be spread throughout the day, i.e. at each meal.


6/ Tip 6 "Sport & nutrition": Do not forget the fruit and vegetables

They do not provide a lot of calories but they cover the nutritional intake in vitamins and minerals that will have a direct impact on your ability to properly assimilate nutrients. They are also rich in fibre and thereby facilitate the digestive process.


7/ Tip 7 "Sport & nutrition": Eating before physical effort

The meal taken before exercising or racing will affect performance. Not eating enough will lead to hypoglycaemia whereas eating too much or eating food that is too rich can lead to digestive problems. Consequently, you need to opt for a complete and easily digestible meal.


8/ Tip 8 "Sport & nutrition": Eating before physical effort

Hydrating and eating during physical activity will be the key factors in avoiding dehydration and a drop in energy, i.e. a drop in performance. 3 key elements: water for hydration, sodium for replacing the minerals lost through perspiration and carbohydrates for replenishing the energy expended.

9/ Tip 9 "Sport & nutrition": Don’t forget your recovery:

Once the race or training session is over, there is a tendency for athletes to forget about their recovery. However, after every physical effort, the body needs to restore its balance. It is therefore important to be vigilant, compensate for any hydro-electrolyte losses and replenish the energy reserves that are so valuable for ensuring that you can get back in training the next day.

10/ Tip 10 "Sport & nutrition": Warning about alcohol!  

Alcohol is not advisable for sportsmen and women. The calories provided by the latter (7kcal/g of alcohol) cannot be used for muscular effort. Alcohol reduces your physical capacities and increases the amount of toxins that the body must eliminate. Furthermore, it speeds up dehydration and modifies the body's capacity to regulate perspiration.

It is also worth noting that alcohol is considered to be a doping substance by certain federations.



Marie Fauchille

Diététicienne-Nutritionniste, passionnée de raid multisport et d'aviron


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