ISSN Nutritional Needs of Strength/Power Athletes
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Proper dietary guidelines for strength/power athletes have long been lacking. The failure of coaches and the strength/power athletes themselves to recognize the importance of diet is attributable to several reasons. First, strength/power athletes tend to be larger and are required to be larger in lean and overall body mass. Because their goals tend to be gain mass or maintain mass, often the only guideline they are given is simply to eat. Another reason is the type of activity these athletes typically perform. Because they compete in activities that require short bursts of power, the traditional thought was that diet would offer little advantage to their performance. However, as a result of the continuing advances made in the field of sport nutrition, it is now recognized that proper diet enhances all athletes’ performance, regardless of body size or type of activity performed. Sound dietary practices for strength/power athletes are as critical as proper training practices. Because these athletes typically must build and maintain excessive body mass (particularly lean mass), as well as extreme power and strength, a well-designed diet that meets energy intake needs, includes correct macronutrient breakdown, provides adequate fluids and micronutrients, and incorporates proper timing of nutrient intake is a must. Research studies support the concept that athletes who follow a proper dietary strategy experience enhanced training adaptations, whereas those who do not may actually impede training adaptations. This chapter focuses on the proper dietary guidelines for strength/power athletes to follow for optimizing training adaptations and performance.