A Sports Medicine Physician, Tajudeen Sule, says it is important for athletes to take balanced diets aside training and other activities because it plays about 85 per cent role in any athlete’s performance.
Sule, who works with the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Medical Department, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that diets played critical roles in the athletes’ performances and must be taken strictly on professional advice.
NAN reports that sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with diets, physical fitness, treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports.
It is a distinct field that takes care of the sportsmen’s health with various professionals such as physiotherapists, first aiders and dieticians among others.
Sule, who specialised in Sports Nutrition from Show Academy, Dublin, Ireland, said that food supplements and dietary control should be on the dictates of professionals.
“Nutrition is about 80 to 85 per cent contributor to athlete’s performance aside training, walkouts and other activities. Once the right diet is involved, the athletes is sure to succeed.
“Once an athlete takes note of his diets on the advice of the sports medicine physician who counsels on food supplements, nutrition and balanced diet, he is on his way to optimum performance.
“Nutrition is the key and that is the reason we always advise athletes concerning their nutrition because when an athlete cannot get to his best, nutrition is involved.
“An example is Mesuit Ozil, an Arsenal FC of England player, he was enmeshed in injury problems before it was discovered that he was having a wrong diet,’’ he said.
He advised sportsmen to start preparations to competitions with dietary control.
“Preparation for any competition should start from nutrition, the conditions must be regulated. When you focus on a goal, you must pursue it and there must be discipline in nutrition.
“An athlete cannot just eat anything he likes, just like in Olympics, which comes every four years, the dietary preparation for the next starts immediately after the last day of the tournament.
“Diets also come with preparation, it is not enough for a long distance sprinter for instance, going to a high altitude place for training; he needs to take note of his nutrition as well.
“Some professional athletes abroad are conversant with this but the orientation has yet to go round for our local athletes, they need to engage in diets in a disciplined manner to succeed,’’ he said.
Sule cautioned athletes to stop engaging in fire brigade approach to preparation for competitions, adding that preparation for the next competition must start immediately one was concluded.
“Athletes should stop fire brigade approach to preparations; they need to train with the right approach and they must also watch what they eat.
“They should not only prepare, they must eat the right food not just filling their stomachs with junks but they need to eat as professionals throughout their training.
“Some professionals abroad don’t even need to eat much on the day of their event, they only take a chocolate in the morning or some fruits like banana and they are okay.
“Some of our athletes here, however, load their system with glucose and sometimes, they should have done overtime and they become a complete failure,’’ he said.
Sule said that dieting takes a lot of diligence and discipline to comply with, hence the athletes should be ready for the sacrifice in order to excel.
“Most of the athletes are not aware of their dieting profile and it becomes difficult for them to succeed. It takes a lot of sacrifice when it comes to diets.
“Dieting also takes a lot of investigations because it is strictly based on weight. Athletes must eat according to their weight, carbohydrates, proteins, fat and oil must be in the right proportions.
“The diet of a footballer should be different from that of a boxer or a basketball player; everything has to do with the body’s weight. It is the duty of a dietician to work on the weight.
“Athletes must also know that they need to be precautious during the season and off season so as not to be overweight when coming back to camp,’’ he said. (NAN)