Good nutrition can improve sports performance. A well-planned, nutritious diet should meet most of an athlete's vitamin and mineral needs and provide enough protein to promote muscle growth and repair. Foods rich in unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, should form the basis of the diet. Nutrition can help improve athletic performance.
An active lifestyle and exercise routine, along with a good diet, are the best way to stay healthy. Athletes' nutritional practices are multifactorial and depend on the athlete's habits, culture or nutritional knowledge. Therefore, the job of a sports nutritionist is to advise the athlete and his environment to make the necessary changes in their intake and, therefore, improve sports performance (SP). The development of a specific nutritional plan for an elite athlete will represent variations, unlike any total change, in basic nutritional approaches.
Nutrition is strongly linked to health, especially when it comes to sports, due to increased energy and nutrient demands. However, the main objective of sports nutrition should be to preserve the athlete's health, which can be achieved with an adequate intake adapted to the type of training performed. The objective of this chapter is to determine the nutritional requirements of the population of athletes who allow them to achieve their sports goals. While there are general dietary guidelines that can (and should) be implemented to optimize athletic performance, it is important to understand that there is no one size fits all and, ultimately, nutrition and diet variables must be adjusted and adapted to the specific needs and preferences of each athlete.
There are several sports science and medicine support systems in different countries to help elite athletes1, and nutrition is a key component of these services. The basis of sports nutrition is a varied diet adapted individually to the needs and appetite of each athlete.