NUTRITION FOR OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTERS
Nutrition for Olympic weightlifters with an intense training plan requires athlete knowledge on which foods to eat. High dense nutrient foods are an essential part of a healthy, active lifestyle. Besides, how an active athlete eats impacts well-being (Thomas., 2016). Weightlifting athletes require a strict diet in order to perform and train at a certain level; this is why they follow a strict diet for training days, non-training days and competition days. Suppose an athlete is in a training camp building up to a competition. In that case, they may want to be bulking their weight in order to maximise muscle, whereas closer to the competition, the athlete will want to start cutting weight whilst maintaining the power they have gained. (Reale et al., 2019). This is where an Olympic weightlifter will look at balancing the diets macronutrients; this will enable them to cut or gain weight. Supplements like whey protein can boost protein in the body without adding unwanted fats which may affect body composition or fat levels. Other supplements for vitamins and minerals can also be utilised by athletes that are deficient in vitamins not easily accessible like vitamin d because most of the population are vitamin d deficient due to the lack of sunlight. Having a deficiency of vitamin d will affect bone health and other bodily functions required by a strength athlete.
Macronutrients come in three types; fats, carbohydrates and proteins they must be relative to the athletes daily, and competition requirements. Too many of a macronutrient will cause an unbalance to an athlete’s available energy, stored energy and availability to recover which each carbohydrate, fats and proteins all do (Slavin et al., 2014). Ensuring the diet is balanced in a certain way to allow an athlete to perform in a competition or training daily a calorie count must be met, with the correct divide to carbohydrates, fats and proteins. After setting out meals to fulfil an athlete’s needs, some of the macronutrients may be lacking, and without adding another meal which will add unnecessary macronutrients like unwanted fats or carbohydrates a supplement will be added into the plan (Slavin et al., 2014).
Olympic athlete dieting strategies allow athletes in weight determined sports to gain an advantage by competing in a weight division that is lower than their training weight (Reale et al., 2017). Deduction to weight is achieved not only through strategies (body fat loss) but also through acute influences before "making weight" (Reale et al., 2019). Another term for this is cutting. A method for cutting body fat without jeopardising any lean muscle as losing muscle would negatively affect training performance and competition. This strategy is used noticeably by other sporting professionals in other sports like boxing, mixed martial artists, and judo. They will be able to cut weight dramatically, mainly water weight before a weigh in to "make weight" (Ellerbroek, et al 2015). Olympic weightlifting athletes would not be able to cut weight in this strategy. It may negatively affect performance as rapidly dehydrating like boxers and mixed martial artists, is not an athlete's method. Rebalancing a diet plan is more beneficial to the athlete's longevity and performance results.
On the other hand, there is another method for diet strategy, which is bulking. A bulking approach utilises a calory surplus in a very well-regulated and controlled manner. When an athlete is in a caloric surplus or eating more calories than the body needs for its normal functions, the diet plan needs to be strategic to ensure that most of the weight gain consists of muscle (Deakin. Et al 2015). The strength athlete will inevitably gain some fat when bulking and, if the Olympic weightlifter is not monitoring the bulk very closely, they will gain more fat then required.
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Ellerbroek, A., Silver, T. (2015). A high protein diet composition in healthy trained men and women – a follow-up investigation. P12- 39
Reale R, Burke LM, Cox GR, Slater G (2019).Body composition of elite Olympic combat sport athletes. Eur J Sport Sci. p147-156.
Reale R, Slater G, Burke LM. (2017).Individualised dietary strategies for Olympic combat sports: Acute weight loss, recovery and competition nutrition. Eur J Sport Sci. p727-740.
Slavin J., Carlson J., (2014) Carbohydrates, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 5, Issue 6, Pages 760–761.
Thomas D.,(2016). Nutrition and Athletic Performance, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Volume 48 - Issue 3 - p 543-568