Head Of The Institut Sukan Negara, Chai Wen Jin, Explains The Importance Of Diet Choices In Sports Development

The recent report by the Institut Sukan Negara (ISN) was focused on urging athletes to be mindful of the choices and quantities of food and drink, as these affect the ability to achieve maximum performance. Nicol David, Lee Chong Wei and Pandelela Rinong Pamg are examples of top athletes who incorporate proper diet practices in their routines. With the national athletes’ performances at an all-time high, nutritional choices are what will take sports development to the next level.

Nutritional Value And Performance

A report by the Malaysian Department of Nutrition and Diabetics supports the advice by the head of ISN that the body requires a complete source of nutrients for optimal performance. While the level of energy and the stamina with which one performs is directly dependent on the amount of calories consumed, replenishing vitamins and minerals reserves in the body is just as important to athletic performance. Minerals such as calcium help with bone strength, while iron and potassium are indispensable for muscle stability and strength, which are key attributes important in modern-day sports. Real foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains are crucial in providing and balancing these dietary needs, as well as preventing serious health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Food As Fuel

Pandelela Rinong, a major of sports science and a specialist of the 10m diving platform, is one of the athletes whose diet plan has really paid off. A scientific review of sports nutrition demonstrates her body’s complex energy needs. Chai Wen Jin explains that tailoring the amounts of food to meet an athlete’s energy requirements should be done, depending on the targeted intensity and the longevity of the exercise. 

For instance, her body relies on intermuscular fats for generating energy when carrying out light or passive activities such as light jogging or warming up. Then, when she needs to make a massive leap when performing, carbohydrates kick in, and provide the energy required to propel her body towards the next medal.

The food and drinks that athletes consume not only shape their bodies, but also influence their levels of energy and performance. To keep up with the drive to improve sports performances in all sectors, athletes will need to collaborate with nutritionists to tailor proper diet plans that will take their performances to the next level.

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