Athletes with Down ’s syndrome need the same nutrients as any other athlete. Before the game day, the athletes have to exercises strenuously, which takes a lot of endurance and energy. Granted, they need a diet that will help them perform exemplarily during the match day and recover quickly after a workout session.
1. Load Up On Calories
All athletes need carbs for energy. When you eat carbs, the body converts them into glucose (blood sugar), which is stored as glycogen in your muscles. During exercise or match day, the body converts the glycogen stored in the muscles into energy.
If you exercise for an hour or less every day, your muscles have enough glycogen to withstand high-intensity exercise. If you exercise for longer than 90 minutes, you might need more carbs to give you the energy you need. In such a case, you need:
- Load up on a lot of carbohydrates at least three or four days before the main event.
- Eat diets whose main calorie sources are carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, and cereals to store as much glycogen as possible.
- Eat a meal 3 to 4 hours before the strenuous exercise or before the game so your stomach will have enough time to empty.
- Avoid eating any starchy or sugary foods 30 minutes to the exercise or game as this may leave you dehydrated.
- Replenish minerals, carbs, and water lost during exercise. You can eat a snack every fifteen minutes after the exercise or workout to fuel the muscles. Most athletes prefer sports drinks, sports bars, and gels. If you are on a keto diet, you still need to keep your carbs intake low to allow you to lose weight with greater ease. Here, you might need to load up on foods rich in fatty acids.
2. Moderate Your Fat Intake
One way to increase energy during events is to ensure your body has enough fats stored under the skin. When the carbohydrates sources are depleted, the body turns to fats for energy.
You can get all the fat you need without taking supplements or eating saturated fats. Even if you are on a keto diet and you need a lot of fats, only get your fats from foods such as olives, nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and vegetable oils. However, avoid these fatty foods on the event day so as not to upset your stomach.
3. Eat Proteins to Heal Muscles
As an athlete, you need proteins for muscle recovery. You can start by calculating the number of proteins you need. An average person requires between 1.2 and 1.4 grams of proteins for every kilogram of body weight. As an athlete, you need up to 1.7 grams of proteins for every kilogram of your body weight. These proteins help your muscles recover after a session of strenuous exercise or high-intensity games.
Do not eat too much protein as that will strain the kidneys. Instead of taking protein supplements, eat protein foods such as fish, lean meat, poultry, beans, milk, eggs, and nuts.
If you want a good balance between proteins and carbohydrates, drink milk as it has both proteins and carbohydrates. The milk comes in handy, especially after exercise. Milk provides casein and whey protein. Whey protein absorbs fast and helps you in recovery while casein digests and absorbs slowly for the long-term muscle recovery. Milk also strengthens the bones of trisome athletes.
4. Stay Hydrated
Extreme dehydration hurts your performance. If left unchecked, the dehydration threatens your health and your life.
Granted, you do not have to wait to feel thirsty to drink water. By that time, you might be dehydrated already. You can monitor how dehydrated you are by checking the color of your urine. If your urine is pale yellow, then you have enough fluids. Bright yellow urine means you are taking less water than you need.
Exercise makes you lose a lot of water. As such, you need to take a lot of water before, during, and after the workout. If you are into endurance games such as soccer or marathon, you need to drink between 8 and 12 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes. If you can drink chilled drinks because they are easily absorbed and may help cool your body.
5. Load up on Electrolytes
During strenuous exercise, your body not only loses water through sweat but also electrolytes. These electrolytes are important at transmitting nerve impulses in the body. You can replenish the electrolytes by taking enough sports drinks. If you sweat a lot, you can dilute your sports drinks with water for a good water-electrolyte balance.
If you have any other special condition as a trisome athlete, you need to talk t your primary care physician.