Nutrition is an important part of a sports persons daily routine, to get a better understanding of the importance of nutrition, a dietary analysis over a five day period must be recorded. The analysis was taken from a male rugby player, playing a match at the weekend and training twice a week, weighing 89 kilograms. From the relevant data collected an overview of energy breakdown will be explained together with an analysis of the intake of core nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fat. This assignment will explain what constitutes as a balanced diet and the role it has within sport. When looking at a rugby player it’s important to understand that a peak phase doesn’t exist during the rugby season this is due to the frequent weekly matches, so therefore nutrition and fitness will need to be consistent throughout the season. (Brandon, 2005) To conclude further advice regarding training, competition and issues relating to sport will be given.

Nutrition is regarded as important not only for performance but also for aesthetics in sports, with a need to make the modern athlete more nutrition-conscious. It is clear that poor food choices will certainly prevent athletes from realising their full potential. Each competitive and recreational athlete needs adequate fuel, fluids, and nutrients to perform at their peak as will the subject. (Burke and Deakin, 2001) It’s believed by Maughan, 2002 that in terms of competition appropriate nutrition can be the difference between winning or losing. An adequate intake of carbohydrate is crucial for maintaining muscle glycogen stores during an intense training session. It’s important to take on protein which will stimulate muscle protein synthesis in the post-exercise period, helping the repair of muscle tissue. Nutrition is important within sport and for a rugby player taking part in training or matches, energy expenditure will be utilized at a higher rate, so therefore energy intake will need to be increased. (Maughan, 2002) It is the role of sports nutrition experts to advise athletes regarding appropriate nutrition needs before, during, and after exercise, and for the maintenance of good health and optimal weight and composition. This is the role that will be taken when working with the subject.

Woman with her personal fitness trainer in the gymWhen working with the client its important for them to understand what constitutes as a balanced diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed the food guide pyramid model, this model is developed into six different groups with carbohydrates as the solid base of about two thirds and protein containing about one third of the recommended intake per serving. (Clarke, 2003) So therefore, focusing on the pyramid as the structure of the subjects nutritional needs we can suggest that the subject needs to consume between 55 – 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates, Clarke, (2003) explains that by consuming this percentage, you’ll be getting an adequate amount of carbohydrates to fully fuel your muscles. With the best choices being, whole-grains and dark bread, bagels and stoned wheat. Fruit is also an important foundation to the pyramid and is a source of carbohydrate needed for our subjects sport specific diet. The fruit is rich in potassium, vitamins, and fiber. Fruit choices may consist of citrus fruits bananas, dried fruits and berries. Vegetables are just as, if not more important then fruit they will provide the subject with the vitamins, minerals, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene (plant form of vitamin A) needed for the perfect balance. If there is a poor source fruit vegetables can compensate. The best choices would consist of broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and cabbages. Protein provides the body with essential amino acids that are needed to repair muscles its suggested by Clarke, 2003 that you should eat two to three servings of protein. The best types of protein rich foods are chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef and canned beans.

The subject completed a food diary over a 5-day period, the food data was analyzed using comp eat nutritional software. The data shows that over the five days, 51% fat consumed was on day 1(Fig. 1.0), the subject carbohydrate intake was highest on day four at 56% (Fig.1.3). The protein intake was at 18% on day one this was the highest range.(Fig.1.0.) The calorie intake varied from day to day, the most calories consumed was on day two (3787Kcal), which happens to be a training day for our rugby subject (Fig.2.0) From Fig. 2.0 you can see that the lowest calorie intake was 2008kcal. This dietary analysis will help to indicate any excesses or deficiencies within the subjects diet by using the comp eat software will provide the coach or instructor, with the appropriate information needed to develop the performance and food intake.

Protein within the diet is important the subject appears to have a low level of protein compared to body weight, protein will replace cells and build new tissues. Fat acts as a carrier for the fat soluble vitamins, there are various types of fats, saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The proportion of fat contained within the diet of the subject is healthy but saturated fat is high within the diet. Saturated fat is a risk factor of coronary heart disease so less is better. Carbohydrates are important within a diet and our subject appears to be consuming a low level of carbohydrate, the computer advises eating more complex carb’s such as, wholegrain bread, pasta, cereals, fruit and Vegetables. Fiber is at low level, fiber has lot’s of benefits such as, protection against intestinal diseases, constipation and cancer of the bowel.

Nutrition is a major part of sport and for our subject protein requirements are important. In the journal article based on endurance athletes by Tarnopolsky, 2004  its suggested that athletes need a diet substantially different compared to people of sedentary lifestyles, this information is based on recommendations for Americans and Canadians, Which suggests that 12% to 15% of energy comes from protein. If the subject was to consume 4,000 to 5,000 kcal per day, Tamopolsky suggests that if protein requirements are as low as 10% which is equal to 100g to 125g this would be the minimum amount for an athlete. Protein can be calculated as follows e.g.1.2 to 1.7 g per day or 84 to 119 g in a 70 kg athlete. This is also supported by American College of Sports Medicine, the American Dietetic Association, and the Dieticians of Canada regarding nutrition and sports performance. Protein is required throughout all sports, for the subject, rugby involves a large element of strength, Phillips, 2004 suggests that it’s important to consume protein after training, which will lead to hypertrophy, and the faster the protein together with carbohydrates is consumed the greater the effect on muscle mass and strength.

Carbohydrates are also a large part of nutrition and will provide the subject with the energy need to perform efficiently. At present the food analysis shows us that the subject is currently consuming a low level of carb’s. This can be developed further, by increasing the amount of complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, bread and other starches. (Clark, 2003) Williams, 2004 suggests that the two most important nutritional interventions that contribute to a successful recovery are carbohydrate and fluid replenishment. These along with adequate rest (sleep) will help athletes (subject) to train hard and recovery quickly. Fat is essential to any balanced diet especially for the subject, another journal by Rowlands and Hopkins 2002, shows the effects fat and carbohydrates have on performance in cycling. It explains that with 2-weeks of high-fat diet conditions increased fat availability and substantially enhanced the peak fat-oxidation rate during exercise. The high fat diet seemed to have an affect on the metabolism but there was no significant change to endurance levels of the cyclists.

It was not clear if carbohydrate loading provides an additional benefit to cyclists endurance following high-fat conditioning. The journals relating to carbohydrates, protein and fat are all related to sporting environments, for the subject it’s important as a rugby player to have a high level of endurance, strength, power. Each journal explains how the nutrients are used, to develop endurance, strength and muscle mass.

With all the information and data from comp eat and other various journal articles a guide to the amount of nutrients can be decided. Our subject will require a high amount of calories to compensate for the amount of physical activity that will be completed during training sessions and matches. But how much is enough for the subject? Tamopolsky, 2004 suggest that protein requirements for a athlete are 1.2 – 1.7 times by body weight, the subjects protein intake will be 1.8 times body weight which is also the recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Dietetic Association, and the Dieticians of Canada regarding nutrition and sports performance (Clarke, 2003), so therefore the subject will consume 158grams of protein per day. Carbohydrates are also a big part of the subjects energy source, Williams, 2004 explains that its one of the most important interventions to a successful recovery. After researching into Carbohydrates the subject will consume 704grames of carbs which is calculated at 8grams per kilogram body weight. (Clarke, 2003:ACSM, 2000) The ACSM guidelines for carbohydrates are 7 to 11 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. It’s recommended that 25 to 30 percent of calories come from fat, which at present is a low figure in comparison to the subjects current diet. E.g. ( 26% of 3,600 = 936 cal fat = 104g fat.) So in summery the subject will consume 158g of protein, 704g of carbohydrates and 25 % of calories from fat. The subject must complete an annual training programme which is important to maximise performance, the main objective of the training is to reach a high level of performance at the start of the rugby season (sept). It will be important to carbo load, before the event to replenish glycogen stores so it allows the subject to not only train at best but compete at his best.  (Clarke, 2003:ACSM, 2000) suggest that carbs can increase from 8 to 9grams per kilogram bodyweight.

When the subject is competing in training or matches its important to stay fully hydrated and have the appropriate amount of energy within the body to function fully. Foods such as peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, bagels and cereals etc are all good to boost glycogen stores before any type of exercise.  In terms of fluid consumption, someone that is adequately hydrated will have pale yellow color urine and a darker color if dehydrated.  This also works for after training and matches knowing when to eat is also important, to optimize muscle glycogen replenishment carbohydrates and drinks should be consumed 15 minutes after exercise. Clarke, 2003 suggest that the important information to remember when coming up to a match or competition is drinking fluids, limit alcohol and at least four to eight glasses of water, eat breakfast on event day, choose fiber rich foods and always be sensible when selecting.

It’s important to understand that each person is different and in terms of training and nutrition it’s a trail and error process but knowing the guidelines that have been set be individual groups such as ACSM, will help to develop ideas further. The subject is a healthy male rugby player, weighing 88 kilograms, taking this into account it was possible to calculate the correct amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat that will be needed in his diet on a daily basis, its by increasing his fluid and food intake that will further develop his performance, he should then feel more alert and energized Fig 2.0. represents a new daily eating plan that can be used during a typical training day. The subject must know that eating well is to prevent yourself getting hungry, when you get to hungry most people tend to eat more unhealthy foods, the key points are Variety, Wholesomeness, Moderation and always maintain a balanced food guide pyramid.

References

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Brandon., R. Peak Performance. (2005). Rugby training: how rugby training should reflect the varying energy demands of players field positions Web Page. Retrieved 18/1/05 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/rugby-training.html

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