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Beyond attempting to regularly ...

   •   Adequate carbohydrate intake is crucial to optimal performance in squash.
   •   Carbohydrate utili...
index. The glycemic effect can be very important for Squash players. For example, if a player
needs a rapid energy boost o...
products) are not available or convenient. In sports Performance today, Amino Acids in Pure form
are given in small quanti...
recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals that should be consumed each day. If
these recommended allowances are n...
carbohydrate sport drinks and sport bars available that provide appropriate amounts of
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Squash And Sports Nutrition


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This document will help one understand the Nutritional requirements of a Squash Player. Helping a World record Holder in 26 hrs of non-stop aerobics has given me the necessary inputs to design foundation and performance Nutrition for the best players in the world. Please feel free to copy and circulate. You may change the editor too. Please don't change the Nutritional values or recommendationsetc etc.

Squash And Sports Nutrition

  1. 1. SQUASH and SPORTS NUTRITION BASICS FOR PARENTS AND PLAYERS FOR SPORTS NUTRITION Beyond attempting to regularly consuming a healthy, varied and well-balanced diet, players should particularly focus their efforts on adequate and appropriate consumption of three primary nutrients – water, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. These nutrients have the immediate effect on performance. Some key take home points and recommendations are listed below. Water: • Many players begin matches or practice dehydrated to some degree. • During training or competition, sweat losses can be extensive – 1 to 2.5 liters per hour or more! • Any water deficit can have a negative effect on a player’s performance and well-being. A progressive water deficit (from sweating and inadequate fluid intake) can cause -- Increased cardiovascular strain -- Decreased temperature regulation capacity -- Decreased strength, endurance and mental capacity • Many players do not rehydrate adequately after training or competition. Recommendations: • Drink plenty of fluids (e.g., water, juice, milk, sport drinks) throughout the day. • Drink regularly during training and competition – typically, older adolescents and adults can comfortably consume up to 1.4 –1.8 liters or so per hour. • After a match or training session, drink about 150% of any remaining fluid deficit. Electrolytes: • Players lose far more sodium and chloride (salt) from sweating than any other electrolyte. • Sodium and chloride losses are greater with higher sweating rates. • Sodium and chloride losses (via sweating) tend to be less when a player is acclimatized to the heat. • Sodium deficits can lead to incomplete rehydration and muscle cramps. • To completely rehydrate, a player must replace the sodium and chloride that was lost through sweating. • Excessive rapid water consumption, combined with a large sweat-induced sodium deficit, can lead to hyponatremia Recommendations: • When a player competes or trains in a hot environment, adding salt to the diet (or eating high-salt foods) can help to prevent a sodium deficit and maintain/restore hydration. Good sodium and chloride sources include: -- Salt: ¼ teaspoon (or 1.5 grams) has 590 mg of sodium. -- Salted chips -- Tomato juice -- Salted sport drinks -- Soup, cheese, tomato sauce, pizza, and many processed foods. 1
  2. 2. Carbohydrates: • Adequate carbohydrate intake is crucial to optimal performance in squash. • Carbohydrate utilization is greater as intensity of play increases and when a player competes or trains in the heat. • Even if a player eats well before competition, after 60 to 90 minutes of intense singles, carbohydrate stores will likely be significantly decreased and the ability to maintain blood glucose and meet the muscles’ demand for energy may be seriously challenged, which could rapidly lead to fatigue. Recommendations: • Generally, 3.0-5.0 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight (465-775 grams per day for a 70kg player) is appropriate for periods of intense training or competition. • Athletes should consume about 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour during play and practice. • Foods and sport drinks with a high glycemic index can be particularly effective for providing rapid carbohydrate energy or restoration during and after play or practice. All players differ in what foods and which nutritional strategies they can tolerate and perform well with. New foods, drinks, or other dietary protocols should be experimented with well before any important match or tournament. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are sugars. Before they are absorbed into the blood, carbohydrates that are consumed are broken down by digestion into single sugar units, such as glucose or fructose. Glucose is the body’s main source of “energy” and is used to fuel the working cells. Fructose (the very sweet sugar of fruit and also found in soft drinks and some sport drinks) can also be used as fuel, but first must be converted to glucose in the liver before it can be used for energy. Breads, cereals, rice, pasta, fruits, and vegetables are all good primary sources of carbohydrate that should be regularly included in a squash player’s diet. Other foods such as sport drinks and sport bars can help too. It is often recommended that 55% to 70% of an athlete’s daily dietary calories should be in the form of carbohydrates. This goal is not always appropriate or practical, particularly if a player needs to consume many calories to offset those that are burned off on the court. A better guideline for a competitive Squash player is to ingest at least 3 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight each day. This is equivalent to 465 grams (or 1860 calories from carbohydrates) for a 70kg person, which would represent roughly 62% of a 3000-calorie intake for a given day. Calorie and carbohydrate intake should be considerably greater when playing and/or training a lot; up to 5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight may need to be consumed each day. Carbohydrates are commonly classified by how fast they are broken down by the digestive system, and how fast the sugar enters the blood stream so working muscle can use it. This classification is often based on what is called a food’s “glycemic index.” Carbohydrates that break down slowly and raise blood sugar (glucose) slowly are described as having a low glycemic index. Conversely, foods that raise the blood sugar level a lot and quickly are described as having a high glycemic 2
  3. 3. index. The glycemic effect can be very important for Squash players. For example, if a player needs a rapid energy boost on the court, certain foods such as plain doughnuts, ready-to-eat bars, etc.), white bread, crackers,e cereals (e.g., corn flakes, Cheerios pretzels, honey, certain candies, and some sport drinks (those with carbohydrate primarily from glucose, sucrose, or a glucose polymer) will raise the blood sugar quickly. Foods like these can provide a rapid and more readily utilizable energy source. On the other hand, apples, yogurt, and fructose-predominant sport drinks, for example, will provide energy at a slower rate, because the carbohydrate will not be absorbed as quickly and because it must be first converted to glucose in the liver. Even a banana has only a moderate glycemic index – it tastes sweet, but it does not give you energy very fast. In fact, a player who has a high consumption of fructose during play (e.g., fruit or a fructose-based sport drink) may get a feeling of gastrointestinal distress because the absorption of fluid and carbohydrate occurs more slowly. Fats Squash players need fat for a number of important biological functions as well as for energy during play. Current recommendations for dietary fat intake suggest that fat should make up between20 - 30% of the total daily calories consumed. Additionally, saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil or lard, should make up less than 10% of the total calories consumed during a day. However, even though fat is important to the Squash player, consumption of fat during or just prior to play is not necessary or appropriate. Importantly, using fat for energy still requires a continual and simultaneous breakdown of carbohydrate. Therefore, all players, regardless of the intensity of play, will eventually feel the effects of depleting carbohydrate stores if the match is long and carbohydrate is not consumed during play. Therefore, carbohydrate for energy during play should still be the emphasis. Further recommendations for in-competition nutrition are provided in future sections. Some players’ daily fat intake regularly exceeds the daily-recommended amount, usually because of convenience or a player’s preference for eating high-fat meals. For players involved in extensive playing or training, eating a high-fat diet is often a practical means to help maintain body weight without having to consume an excessive amount of food to match very high calorie expenditure. If the daily carbohydrate requirement (e.g., 7-10 grams per kg. of body weight) is still met, and the player is not putting on too much body fat, then from a performance point of view, a periodic high- fat diet may be okay (it’s fairly common among many other sports). However, from a long-term health perspective, excessive fat intake is likely to adversely affect the diet-related risk factors for coronary heart disease to some degree, even in a fit population Protein The recommended daily protein intake (for adults) is about 1gm of protein per Kg of body weight (or about 10% to 15% of the daily total calories consumed). However, during and immediately after play or training, there is an increase in protein breakdown followed by an increase in protein building during recovery. Thus, most Squash players should try to get closer to 1.5-1.8gms grams per Kg of body weight each day. Regular strength training may further increase the daily protein needs to 1.8 –2.0 grams per kg of body weight. Fortunately, such an increase in dietary protein is likely already met by the typically higher daily caloric intake that active players usually have. So unless an athlete is inappropriately restricting calories, protein supplements are generally not needed. An exception might be when traveling and typical protein sources (meat, fish, dairy 3
  4. 4. products) are not available or convenient. In sports Performance today, Amino Acids in Pure form are given in small quantities before, during and after training/games for enhancing Muscle and Mental Focus. Though expensive Amino acids in the free form give an athlete an edge in long-term endurance. They are highly recommended with Sports drinks. Water and Electrolytes In warm to hot conditions, most adult Squash players will lose between 1 and 2.5 liters of sweat during each hour of competitive singles play or on-court training. Notably, sweat rates of up to 3.5 liters per hour have been observed with some players in extreme conditions. Clearly, it would not be difficult for some Squash players to lose as much 10 or more liters of fluid in a long match if water was not replaced on a regular basis. Sweat is mostly water, but it also contains a number of other elements found in the blood, including a variety of minerals in varying concentrations. These minerals are collectively called electrolytes and they help to maintain fluid balance in the body and are necessary for proper muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. The most common electrolytes found in sweat are sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-), which make up normal table salt. Sodium (especially) and Chloride levels as well as the rates that these electrolytes are lost through sweating vary tremendously in players. In a given liter of sweat, the amount of sodium could range from 100 to 2300 milligrams (mg). In contrast, potassium (K+) and magnesium (Mg2+) losses in sweat, for example, are typically much lower. In fact, players will generally lose 3-10 times as much sodium as potassium during play. With high sweating rates and sweat that contains only a moderate concentration of sodium, a player could readily lose up to 5000 mg of sodium per hour of play. Such a player would have a severe challenge in maintaining sodium concentrations and fluid balance in the body. This player would be at high risk for heat-related problems on court, such as extreme fatigue and/or muscle cramps, unless fluid and mineral intake was carefully managed during practice or play. Probably the most common heat related injury encountered by Squash players is heat cramps. Heat-related muscle cramps often occur during or following prolonged playing (one or several matches) when there have been previous extensive and repeated fluid and sodium losses. With a significant body water and sodium deficit, nerve endings connecting to the muscles may become hyper-excitable and overly sensitive, resulting in seemingly spontaneous muscle contractions (i.e., cramps). Lack of conditioning and fatigue can cause a ‘normal’ muscle cramp. This type of cramp is usually localized and passive stretching, massage, or icing can often resolve it. Such is not the case with heat cramps. Heat cramps can eventually spread over many areas of the body, including the stomach, arms, and even fingers and facial muscles. Drinking plenty of water may help to delay muscle cramps, but to completely restore the proper fluid and electrolyte balance throughout the body (and eliminate the heat cramps) the salt that was lost through sweating must be replenished as well. Therefore, extra salt intake is appropriate when playing or training in hot conditions or any time that sweating is expected to be extensive. Vitamins and Minerals Vitamins are organic substances and minerals are inorganic substances (like iron, calcium, or zinc) that are essential for the human body to function properly. In the majority of cases, vitamins and minerals cannot be produced by the body and must be consumed in the foods we eat. There are 4
  5. 5. recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals that should be consumed each day. If these recommended allowances are not met, the Squash player should consider supplementing his or her diet with a multivitamin As previously mentioned, carbohydrates and fats are the primary energy sources utilized during a Squash practice or match. However, carbohydrate and water are the only principal nutrients that need to be consumed while playing Squash. For some players, salt intake during play is important for maintaining fluid balance and preventing heat-related muscle cramps. Even if a player eats well the night before and has a good pre-match meal, after 60 to 90 minutes of intense singles, carbohydrate stores within the body will be significantly reduced. This will generally cause the player’s blood sugar level to begin to drop off. This could prompt lower performance and accelerate feelings of fatigue. Therefore, ingesting carbohydrates during play becomes necessary. Most adult players can burn off up to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour during play. To offset this, a player can readily get 60 grams of carbohydrate by drinking about a liter (35 ounces) of a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink. Carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drinks can have several distinct advantages over water alone: They a) Provide energy in the form of carbohydrate, b) Have been shown to delay the onset of fatigue and perception of effort, c) Increase voluntary fluid intake, and d) Provide electrolytes that help to maintain mineral and fluid balance. All of these factors are important in maintaining performance, especially when playing in a hot environment (carbohydrates are used faster and a player loses more fluid through sweating). Sport drinks, designed for consumption during play, generally should have a carbohydrate concentration of 5% to 7%. This means, for each liter consumed, a player will get 50 to 70 grams of carbohydrate, respectively. Higher carbohydrate concentrations (i.e., > 10%) slow down emptying of the stomach, which, in turn, delays water and carbohydrate from getting into the bloodstream where they are needed. When a player drinks more than 1 liter during each hour of play, it is often better to drink a sport drink and plain water at each changeover (usually with an emphasis on the sport drink If a player has a very high sweating rate (e.g., > 2 liters per hour), it may be impossible to avoid a progressive fluid deficit. However, most older adolescents and adults can comfortably drink up to ~1.4 liters per hour, which can match sweating rates (and thus prevent significant fluid deficits) for most people. Again, if a player is prone to heat cramps, a little salt can be added to their on-court sport drink (about ¼ tsp. per 32 ounces). After a match, a Squash player’s primary nutritional interest should be restoring fluids, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. If the next match is scheduled to begin soon (e.g., within 1 to 2 hours), re- hydration and carbohydrate intake (about 50-100 grams) should begin immediately. High-carbohydrate sport drinks, along with sport bars, gels, and other carbohydrate-rich foods with a high glycemic index (e.g., bagels, crackers, certain ready-to-eat cereals, white bread, and jelly beans), are good choices to get the process going. Research also suggests that a carbohydrate and protein combination might be better than just carbohydrate for rapid carbohydrate replenishment and total muscle recovery including protein rebuilding. Several commercial high- 5
  6. 6. carbohydrate sport drinks and sport bars available that provide appropriate amounts of carbohydrate and protein for this purpose. Otherwise, certain combinations of breads, cereals, and dairy products, for example, can provide similar ratios of carbohydrate and protein. If a second match of the day begins 4 to 5 hours or more after the completion of the first, players should generally follow the pre-match meal guidelines described in the article on Pre-match Nutrition. If smaller quantities of food are preferred, 50-100 grams of carbohydrate, for example, ingested immediately after play, and again every two hours, can be effective as well for replenishing one’s carbohydrate stores. The more time a player has to eat between matches, the more variety a player can have in choosing foods (including carbohydrate and proportionately more fat and protein as time permits to be digested). Note: Energy stores are most effectively replenished if the player can consume a high-carbohydrate meal within the first 2 hours after a match. The longer the player waits to eat, the longer it will take to replenish the body’s energy stores. Importantly, any remaining fluid deficit should be replaced by about 150% of that deficit. For example, if you weigh 1kg pound less after playing, you still need to consume about 500-700ml fluid with appropriate other nutrients (especially carbohydrates and sodium). For more on Sports Nutrition Email : 6