We have all been told, men must eat 2,500 calories and women must 2,000 calories a day, but why? The simple explanation is that it saturates our body with the right amount of energy to continue through the day. However, for some, the number 2,500 can become too little which becomes dependant on an individual’s specific needs. Body builders and sports athletes alike, need excessive calorie counts to prepare and train their body for the extreme stress of a main event.
And when their physique is shown on screen, jaws drop… huge biceps, broad shoulders, incredible six packs, but a question on everybody’s mind is, how do they get those muscles? Pretty simple, it is the amount of food they intake. An athlete may consume between 3,000 to 4,000 calories.
A bit excessive right? Wrong!
The main priority for this increase in calorie intake is so that athletes can fuel their performance and growth. And for the required calories comes in three unique forms: protein, fat, and carbohydrates (carbs).
But with this combination of calories in mind, not all people nor sports athletes have the same body structure to consume the average calorie count. As they constituted into three basic body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
For starters Ectomorphs, you would mainly associate them as Footballers. And according to Harrod Sport, Footballers would have to consume between; 2,400 to 3,240 calories for females and 3,200 to 4,320 calories for men. While it does sound excessive, they must consume of specific number of proteins, fat, and carbs to optimize their performance effectively.
Protein can be found in chicken, eggs, cheese, milk, soy products and beans. Consuming protein at every meal and snack is crucial to preventing muscle breakdown and promoting muscle growth. Moreover, protein reduces your hunger hormone, allowing you to feel fuller for longer periods of time. A key component of a footballer's nutritional diet is protein, which can be consumed as part of a post-match recovery meal. As the required amount of protein is predicated to be 10-30% of calories a day.
Fats can be found in, fish, nuts, seeds, meat, dairy products, avocados, and olive oil. As fat has the ability to store calories, it may be used as a long-term energy source when carbohydrates and proteins are not readily available. Additionally, they are very important if you want to build muscles, improve the immune system, and maintain a healthy bone structure and function. They also transport fat-soluble vitamins for example, A, E, D, and K, which are essential for the development of muscles, bones and nerves. As a rule of thumb, if a footballer is already in good shape, they should aim to consume fats in the amount of roughly 20-35% of their diet.
As for carbs are usually found in, bread, pasta, fruit, vegetables, and beans. Providing athletes with energy during training and competition, they are considered the most important aspect of their diet. As carbohydrates are consumed, they are converted to glucose which is stored until energy is needed. Allowing for more endurance under extreme moments of a game. As carbs is the main source of energy for a meal, it consumes 50-60% of the daily calorie count.
However, for a Mesomorphic body type that requires a balanced calorie ratio, they should consume 30% of protein, 40% of carbs and 30% fat on a daily basis. Mesomorphic body types are most common sport wise with Rugby players. As Mesomorph’s are naturally muscular and athletic, they would require a balanced diet to maintain the muscle they have built. And according to Muscle Food, a Rugby player would have to consume 3,900 calories to maintain their muscle growth.
Whereas an Endomorphic physique has a more rounded body as they predominantly require more fat in their diet, as they should consume 40% of fats, 35% of proteins and 25% of carbs. For the endomorphic physique, they are renowned with the world of weightlifting and body building. Why they have a more rounded shape is mainly down to the slow metabolic rate that allows the fats to be grow and develop the correct minerals to act as the primary source of energy. As BetterMe advises for that a 5,000-calorie diet is best suited for a bodybuilder to replenish the energy more efficiently during the training sessions.
With all that being said, it is incredible how much food and energy has to be consumed in order to optimize their peak performance, but for a standard person to consume their recommended calories and has the desire for their dream physique or career with sports, the consumption of their daily calories would increase by nearly 200% to reach the goal they desire.