Every day we are faced with numerous choices when it comes to nutrition. From fast food chains to supermarket shelves, we all make choices that ultimately affect our health.
These choices are tougher for athletes who must maintain healthy lifestyles to compete at the highest levels and avoid health problems.
“The food intake of an individual must be planned together with that person’s physical activity, especially among athletes. Food gives fuel or energy and is the source of important nutrients that our bodies need to function properly,” according to nutritionist-dietitian Faith G. Nacional, section manager, Weight Management Center at St. Luke’s Medical Center, Global City.
Without proper nutrition, Nacional said athletes and physically active individuals like exercise enthusiasts may not achieve their full potential when it comes to training, exercise and competition.
There are many factors that affect an athlete’s nutritional needs. These include the type of activity or sport, the person’s gender, weight, height, body mass index, and the time of day.
“Eating food that is natural means the athlete is getting the most out of food. When food is processed, it normally means that its nutritional value is reduced,” explained nutritionist-dietitian Zherwin Centeno.
Many athletes secure the services of a nutritionist-dietitian for meal planning to enhance performance.
“Athletes require more nutrients to keep their energy up during training and more during competition. They easily lose a lot of fluids that result in dehydration. Thus, they need to eat a balanced diet and get the right nutrition for better body endurance, efficiency and energy,” said Centeno.
To keep up with the competition and the complexities of healthy living, many athletes turn to nutritional supplements, vitamins and energy drinks to improve stamina and performance. In this regard, Utah-based USANA Health Sciences Inc. recently embarked on a global program called the USANA Athlete Sponsorship Program to boost the athleticism of teams and individuals worldwide and inspire people to pursue and sustain good health.
World-renowned members of the program include Olympic gold medalist Tyler McGill (swimming), Olympic gold medalist Meaghan Mikkelson (hockey), and former World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (boxing).
Recently, the USANA Philippines office launched its own version of the program by selecting top local athletes to help them train in their respective sports.
Golfer Abe Avena was the first member of the team and was followed by LA Tenorio (basketball), Japoy Lizardo (taekwondo), Bing Amit (billiards), Janice Lagman (taekwondo), Tin Patrimonio (tennis), Gaby Dela Merced (motor sports), Neil Flores (volleyball), Alyssa Valdez (volleyball), and PJ Tierro (tennis).
“It has always been our mission to inspire everyone and provide them with the means to boost and sustain good health,” according to USANA Philippines General Manager Aurora “Duday” Gaston. “We aim to drive the well-being and competitiveness not only of Filipino athletes, but also Filipinos in general, as they strive for success in their respective fields.”