Today’s athletes have highly particular calorie requirements, which means that they really have to take their workout regimens and diet plans seriously. With so much misinformation out there, it can sometimes seem downright impossible to know how many calories you should be consuming versus how much you should be exercising. It often seems that, unless you have a degree in nutrition, you can never hope to understand the nuances of the athletic body. That is only true because the formula for perfect caloric intake has never been quite so simplified.
What Is a Calorie?
First, you have to understand exactly what a calorie is and why it is important to the human body, especially those that are highly athletic on a regular basis. Put as simply as possible, a calorie is a unit of energy produced by the foods you eat and the beverages you drink. It is most commonly used in nutrition to describe the energy exchange between said foods or drinks and the physical activity you do or do not get, which is ultimately what uses that energy.
How Many Calories Should an Athlete Be Consuming?
Each and every person alive today has his or her own unique metabolism, which means that pinning down a precise number for calorie requirements for athletes is not exactly an easy task. On average, a person is usually advised to consume at least 2,000 calories per day. However, athletes are far more active than the average person, which may mean that they need to be consuming a bit more food on a regular basis. On the other hand, athletes tend to aspire for a lean and trim body with very little fat, which might make an increased caloric intake seem less than ideal.
Where Is the Balance?
Your calorie requirements depend on your own fitness goals. It is not uncommon for today’s athletes to consume an extra 500 calories or more per day to keep up with the demands placed on their active bodies. However, simply eating the right, nutrient-dense foods will render the same energy-rich results. This can be achieved even without forcing athletes to take in excess calories, which is good for the bottom line. If you are still unsure as to what your personal calorie requirements might be, simply speak with your doctor or with a certified nutritionist.