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HEALTH| 15.06.2021

False myths about sports nutrition 

In matters of sports nutrition we still find various false myths and beliefs despite the fact that they were dismantled a while ago. Many times, they encourage the athlete to adopt erroneous eating patterns. Therefore, it is always important to consult with a professional to get the right advice and act properly. Below, we mention some common myths about sports nutrition during a marathon:

It is necessary to eat right after training because of the anabolic window

The anabolic window is defined as the post-workout period of time in which nutrient uptake is optimal for muscle growth and repair. Some studies show that protein synthesis remains elevated for at least 24 hours after training and others for up to 48 hours. Even the less advanced a runner is, the longer the anabolic window will last. In the case of long and exhausting activity, it is important to ensure a contribution of food during the following hour post-exercise to start stimulating the repair and synthesis of tissue. Also, when you train more than once in less than 24 hours (such as double workouts) you have to ensure a quick post-exercise recovery.

Fat is bad

Fats are an energy source that should be considered in the context of physical wear. In addition, they have important functions beyond the energetic ones, such as the synthesis of hormones, they are part of the cellular structure, help to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), among many others.

Fats have a special connotation in sports as there should be a limited intake prior to training and competitions because they significantly delay gastric emptying. Nevertheless, they are an essential nutrient that must be provided daily to avoid a deficit. The most interesting are 6 essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega6, as well as triglycerides. They are found in extra virgin olive oil, nuts, freshwater fish (tuna, salmon, sardine, mackerel, etc.), white fish, seeds, avocado, organic butter, virgin coconut oil, grass meats, olives…

Protein improves performance when consumed during exercise 

The most recent research shows that providing protein during or just before exercise does not provide any additional performance benefits. If taken in sports drinks during the physical activity, proteins can even slow gastric emptying. Only in ultra-long races, this intake should be contemplated in order to alleviate the muscular catabolism that originates in extreme distances. It will always be much better to take in proteins at the end of the activity along with carbohydrates to promote muscle recovery.

Be careful with carbohydrates at night because they make you fat 

Carbohydrates are the basic source to cover the high energy demands of any endurance sports event. So, they should be eaten frequently in daily meals to adequately face the workouts and be useful in the replacement of muscle glycogen after training.  Obviously, the sources must be adjusted and varied in a personalized way and according to the type and duration of the exercise.

Supplementation is basic for an athlete 

Sports supplements  are ergonomic boosters that can help improve performance as long as the usual diet is adequate and adapted to individual needs. Supplementation is not essential for sports practice, but it is useful to meet certain nutritional demands at certain key moments of the runner. Above all, they provide comfort by providing a product of optimal composition for certain moments with specific needs, which if we had to cover with conventional foods, it would be less practical.