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Nutrition for a sprinter

Countdown to Rio de Janeiro 2016. Next month 206 national Olympic committees will spread the gospel of Olympism through competition. It is that time for the quadrennial event of the Olympic Games where several disciplines are competed for, the overall winner being determined by the number of medals collected. Since the inception of the Olympic Games in 1894 by a young Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin, athletics — especially sprint events — have dominated the games. Records are being broken at every edition and beyond any reasonable doubt; a correct nutritional programme has immensely contributed towards sprinters’ success.

Lovemore Magaya

Nutrition is important as it helps to avoid risks like stress, fractures, which are predominant in track and field events, particularly sprints. Trainers should also take into consideration the duration a sprint event lasts as most sprints, for instance 100m last averagely for less than 10 seconds, hence exceeding the oxidative capacity of an athlete. So athletes who compete in events of short duration rely much on phosphocreatine as a fuel for the working muscles. Such athletes should be given proper supplementation in order to increase their wherewithal to last the distance in a competition. Here are some of the recommendations for sprinters:
lAs usual, the diet should be largely based on carbohydrates.

lAvoid carbohydrate loading as the body stores extra water with extra glycogen. For every 1g of glycogen stored, the body stores about 3g of water and this makes the athlete feel “heavy”, which is a hindrance to performance.

lAt the recommendation and advice of a specialist, take creatine monohydrate supplements to replenish phosphocreatine which is required in sprints of a very short duration.

lEat beef, pork, poultry and fish which also provide creatine from the synthesis of essential amino acids.

Whenever planning a programme for a sprinter, ensure that all supplements have the correct energy supply and are always accepted in sport nutrition. The key objective in sprinting is to move mass quickly over a short distance within the shortest possible time. In order to achieve this, a high strength to weight ratio is necessary, hence the correct training programme coupled with a proper eating regiment should be a priority.

lLovemore “Uncle Samba” Magaya writes in his own personal capacity. He is a sport and fitness consultant, teacher and coach as well as personal trainer. Readers’ views, comments and suggestions are welcome. Email: or Call/SMS/WhatsApp on 0773 019 029 or visit Sunrise Gym at Moonlight Building, Gweru

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