What sportsman, whether in competition or otherwise, has not suffered at one time or another from cramps, hunger pangs, exhaustion, digestive problems, stitches, a sharp decline in muscular tonus, or desperate thirst?
All these problems can be prevented by a balanced, suitable intake of food, either before, during or after the competition. In fact, good eating habits should be adopted a long time in advance. They play a large part in bringing the athlete gradually up to top form. The opposite is also true-a freak diet during the competition or pre-competition period frequently results in poor performance during exertion.
Among athletes, there are two extremes: some over-sacrifice dietary rules to gastronomy, while some do quite the opposite, building dietetics up into an infallible and miraculous means of helping them win victories. According to the latter, success depends on a so-called “wonder” foodstuff or even nutrient, whether it be raw meat, vitamins, potassium, sugar or glucose, etc. In both cases, the nutritional mistakes or beliefs are numerous. We shall therefore look at the most common dietary mistakes and beliefs which are encountered in the sporting environment.
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