What is Sports Nutrition?

Sports nutrition is important for maintaining the health of those who do sports, increasing endurance, good concentration and attention skills. Energy and nutrient requirements vary according to age, gender, weight, height, sport practice and frequency. The main goal with sports nutrition; The health of the athlete should be protected and their performance should be increased. It is seen that an athlete who is adequate and well nourished has higher performance than a poorly nourished athlete, his growth and development curves are smooth, his body weight is at the desired limit and his concentration is higher.

What is the meaning of sports nutrition?

The nutrition of the athlete should include the necessary energy and sufficient fluid intake. The body spends more calories during exercise than at rest. Therefore, the energy and nutrient needs of athletes are higher. The diet of athletes in general; It should be rich in carbohydrates, normal in protein and slightly below normal in fat content. Since the fluid loss of athletes is higher than normal individuals, the amount of water drunk should be increased. In general, the daily calorie needs of athletes can be between 2000-5000 calories on average. The calorie requirement of each athlete differs.

What should be the ideal body weight and fat percentage of the athletes?

The weight of the athlete affects the amount of fat in his body, the amount of lean tissue, fluid mass, his success in sports, speed, strength and endurance. It is not correct to evaluate only the weight of athletes; body fat amount and muscle mass should also be measured and evaluated. For example, body weight may be high in some sports such as bodybuilding and weightlifting. This is because although the fat ratio is normal, the muscle mass is high.

The amount of fat effective in body weight varies according to gender and the sports branch. For example, the body fat percentage of the male athlete who is engaged in bodybuilding is 6%; 15% of the male athlete who deals with basketball. Body fat percentage of female athletes can rise up to 20%. The minimum percentage of fat in athletes’ body is 5% for men; in women it should be 12%.

Body Fat calculator

Body Fat calculator

require require

Your body fat is ......

Recommended amount:20-25%8-14%
Adults in United States, average :22-25%15-19%
Obese :30+%25+%


Some important tips for athletes who want to lose weight:

  • Follow a personalized diet plan that can meet daily nutritional needs.
  • Daily calories should be reduced by 10-20% and a weight loss of 0.5-1 kg per week is targeted.
  • Choose low-fat milk and dairy products. Consume lean meat, chicken and fish.
  • Have 3 main meals and 3 snacks a day and arrange the meal intervals as 2.5-3 hours. Take care not to skip meals and eat regularly.
    Increase your daily fluid intake.
  • Consume brown bread types such as whole wheat, bran and rye instead of white bread.

How Should Female and Male Sports Nutrition Be?

In order to avoid problems such as fatigue, weakness and weight loss, calories should be taken into the body as much as the daily energy spent and the sports diet should be prepared accordingly. Carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamin and mineral values ​​required with the sports nutrition program should be provided to the body through foods. The main energy source of the body is carbohydrates. Therefore, the consumption of carbohydrates should be higher than protein and fat sources.


  • The energy that each athlete should take varies according to his age, height, weight, health condition and the sport he is engaged in.
  • Insufficient energy intake can cause weight loss and weakness. Therefore, a sufficient amount of calories should be provided to the body.
  • The energy intake of athletes during the day may vary between 2000-5000 calories. This value may be higher in endurance sports.


  • Carbohydrate source foods are the main energy source especially for athletes.
  • Complex carbohydrate sources such as rice, pasta, bread, vegetables and legumes must be included in the nutrition program of athletes.
    Carbohydrates taken with food are stored as glycogen in muscle and liver.
  • Thanks to a high-carbohydrate diet, athletes can increase these glycogen stores 1.5-2 times. Having more glycogen stores in athletes means an increase in endurance times.
  • Therefore, carbohydrate sources make up most of the daily energy intake. 60-65% of the daily energy intake of athletes should come from carbohydrate source foods.
  • In endurance sports, this value can be up to 70%. The amount of carbohydrate to be taken can also be calculated according to body weight.
  • Depending on the exercise duration and intensity, 5-10 g / kg of carbohydrate can be taken daily.
  • 5-6g / kg per day for someone who trains for 1 hour a day; 8-10 g / kg of carbohydrate per day is sufficient for someone who trains for 3-4 hours.


  • Protein has an important role especially in protecting the body from external microbes and repairing worn-out tissues and exercise-related muscle damage.
  • Protein sources do not provide energy to the body in short-term exercises. It only contributes 2-5% energy in long-term exercises.
  • The effect of protein on the increase in muscle mass is valid for those who are new to sports. Increasing protein consumption in the first 3-4 weeks of exercising can also increase muscle mass.
  • Excessive protein consumption in athletes does not provide an increase in muscle mass; It has been observed in studies that this increase in muscle mass is caused by training.
  • Protein needs can be met from animal products such as milk and dairy products, meat, eggs, fish, chicken and legumes. Take a look at the Healthiest Protein Food Sources for Vegetarians.
  • 12-15% of daily calories should come from protein. This value can also be calculated per kilogram.
    1.2-1.4 g / kg of protein can be taken daily, depending on body weight.
  • Protein intake above the body requirement may cause fatigue of the liver and kidneys and calcium excretion from the body.

Protein Intake calculator

Protein Intake calculator

age should be in 14 to 80 range
require require

You should take ...... of protein per day



  • In order for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K to be taken into the body and to avoid digestive problems, fat source foods should be taken into the body.
  • Fats can be used as an energy source for the body, especially in long-term aerobics. That’s why even the weakest athlete must have fat in their body.
  • 20-25% of the daily energy in athletes should come from fat.
  • Since excessive fat consumption may suppress carbohydrate intake, these values ​​should not be exceeded in the sports diet program and sports nutrition scheme.
  • Studies have found that fat intake below 15% of daily energy can negatively affect performance. Therefore, very high and low oil consumption should be avoided.


  • Especially the importance of B group vitamins is more in athletes.
  • B group vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and biotin help build energy during exercise.
  • Folic acid and vitamin B12 are important for protein synthesis, tissue building and repair.
  • Studies have shown that excessive protein intake has no effect on increasing exercise performance.


  • Mineral resources are effective in nerve conduction, muscle contraction and oxygen transport in athletes. The most important minerals for athletes are calcium and iron.
  • Calcium is involved in controlling blood coagulation, nerve conduction and heart rate. Milk, yoghurt, cheese, oilseeds, legumes and green leafy vegetables are among the calcium source foods.
  • Iron mineral is responsible for carrying oxygen to the muscles. Oxygen is needed during energy production. If there is insufficient iron mineral in the blood, the athlete can get tired quickly.
  • Therefore, iron mineral is important for athletes. Liver, red meat, green leafy vegetables, molasses, dried fruits and legumes are among the foods that contain iron mineral.
  • If the athlete is a vegan, has a bad nutritional habit, is pregnant, has anemia, has menstrual bleeding, and consumes too much smoking and alcohol, vitamin and mineral supplements can be used.


  • Water constitutes 55-70% of the weight, depending on the amount of muscle in the body. It has been observed that the performance of athletes who maintain their body fluid balance during exercise is also higher.
  • In the event of fluid insufficiency, ie dehydration, performance is also negatively affected.
  • In order to maintain body fluid balance, athletes should consume 400-600 ml of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise; It is recommended that they drink 150-350 ml of water at the beginning of the exercise and every 15-20 minutes afterwards.
  • Preferred sports drinks should contain 4-8% carbohydrates and these drinks should be consumed over 1 hour of exercise.

Water Intake calculator

Water Intake calculator

require require

you should drink ...... of water per day


What Should We Eat for Fast Muscle Development?

The most important nutrients that provide muscle growth are amino acids and protein sources. Protein sources are important for muscle development in the first 3-4 weeks of starting sports. The protein sources required in this process are naturally; should be met with nutrients. The increase in muscle growth occurs when athlete diet and exercise are done together.

In order to ensure muscle development, foods containing high quality protein should be consumed in the sports nutrition program. Lean meat, fish, poultry, milk, yogurt, eggs, and legumes are foods rich in protein. Egg, which is one of the most important foods after breast milk, is a quality source of protein and should be consumed at breakfast.

Excessive protein consumption does not mean that there will be an increase in muscle mass at the same rate. It should be kept in mind that high protein consumption can cause damage to the kidney and liver.

Should Athletes Consume Ergogenic Products?

Today, athletes, whether at the amateur or professional level, prefer supportive products to compensate for their lost energy or to support muscle growth. There are many ergogenic products on the market such as athletic products, creatine, protein powder, ginseng and vitamins. Before these products are consumed, attention should be paid to many features such as age, gender, sports branch of interest, whether the athlete is an amateur or a professional.

Products should be evaluated in terms of their health and performance effects before consumption. In order for ergogenic products to have a positive effect on performance increase, the right product should be selected and used at the right time and amount. Therefore, professional help should be taken. A doctor and dietician should be consulted before using the products in order to avoid adverse health effects.

sports nutrition
sports nutrition

How Right Is Using Protein Powder for Muscle Building?

Body building; It is the method of developing body muscles, which is becoming increasingly common in the world, especially preferred by men. These individuals usually have the highest levels of muscle mass; They aim to keep the fat percentage at the minimum level. The frequency of use of commercial products used for this purpose has increased worldwide.

The most preferred of these commercial products are protein powders, creatine and steroid hormones. Before using these products that aim to increase muscle mass, one should have information about their effects on the body. The best known product among the people and especially preferred by weight trainers are protein powders. By increasing the amount of protein taken with diet, protein powders may not be needed.

However, in some cases, especially during heavy training periods, the amount of protein needed may not be met by foods and these products are needed. The protein that needs attention should be met with foods first; If insufficient is to try these products. Even during intense training periods, a maximum of 2 g / kg of protein per day is required.

4 Nutrition Tips for Athletes

What is Sports Nutrition
What is Sports Nutrition

1) Increase your carbohydrate consumption

Carbohydrate is the body’s main source of energy and the energy required during training is supplied from glycogen stores. Glycogen storages should be sufficient in order for the performance to be higher, to prevent fatigue quickly and to prolong the endurance period of the athlete. If you can do a 90-minute workout, your glycogen storage is sufficient. With the sports diet, an average of 60-65% of the daily energy should come from carbohydrate sources. Especially in sports diet and sports nutrition program; complex carbohydrate sources, brown bread varieties, whole wheat pasta, bulgur pilaf, legumes and vegetables can be preferred.

2) Eat 3-4 hours before training

Carbohydrate-based foods such as pasta, vegetables, bread and fruit can be added to meals before training to maximize endurance and performance. Before training, foods that cause gas and indigestion such as cabbage, radish, cauliflower and dry beans should not be consumed. A food that has not been consumed before should not be tried before training.

3) get enough protein

Excessive protein intake can cause serious damage, especially to the kidneys. Therefore, a sufficient amount of protein suitable for body weight and gender should be calculated and consumed, especially in sports nutrition and athlete diet program. Protein sources such as red meat, chicken meat, legumes, eggs and milk should be preferred instead of supplementary products. It would be more ideal to choose those with fat-free or reduced fat of these foods.

4) Increase fluid consumption

Adequate fluid intake is important to avoid dehydration problems and to replace electrolytes lost through sweating. Insufficient fluid consumption can be understood from the color of the urine. Pale yellow urine indicates sufficient fluid intake; Bright yellow and dark urine is an indicator of insufficient fluid consumption. At the same time, a weight loss of 1.5-2 kg during the day is an indication of fluid decrease and insufficient amount of fluid in the body. With a sports diet, care should be taken to drink 400-600 ml of liquid 2-3 hours before exercise.

Example Athlete Diet and Sports Nutrition Program

The sports diet list prepared is an average of 2200 calories. The portions and food types may differ according to the physical characteristics of the person. The list below is a sample athlete diet list nutrition program. It is recommended that you consult a Dietitian for personalized diet lists.

In the morning:

  • 2 glasses of water


  • Mushroom / curd omelet made with 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites
  • 2-3 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 50 g low-fat feta cheese
  • 5-6 olives


  • 1 portion fruit + 15 raw almonds or hazelnuts


  • Salad made with 200g grilled chicken or boiled chicken
  • 1 bowl of yogurt
  • 2-3 slices of whole wheat bread


  • 200 ml milk or kefir + 2 dried figs


  • 150 g grilled lean beef or meatballs
  • Grilled vegetables or 1 serving of olive oil vegetable meal
  • 1 serving whole wheat pasta or bulgur pilaf


  • 200 ml light milk

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