Essay on Basic Roles of Essential Nutrients and their importance to Gymnasts

Submitted By Madeleine-Champion
Words: 993
Pages: 4

Nutrients are vital to the human body. Nutrients are split into various components. These

components are; carbohydrates, protein, fats, water, vitamins and minerals and fibre.


Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. This is because they can be converted quicker

to glucose than proteins or fats can. Your body is in need of a balanced diet so even too much

carbohydrates can upset the body’s sugar level, which can affect your mood, leaving you feel tired

and irritated. It is recommended that you balance your intake of carbohydrates with protein, a little

fat and fibre.

There are two types of carbs: complex and simple. Complex carbs, also referred to as starchy foods,

are carbs that are made up of three or more sugar molecules linked together. They differ from

simple carbs that are made up from only one or two linked sugar molecules. Complex carbs take

longer to break down than simple ones, which helps your body to maintain a steady sugar level.

Whole grain bread, pasta and breakfast cereals are example of complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates may also be describes as “bad” carbs as simple carbohydrates are refined or

processed foods, such as white rice or white bread, which is bad for you. Simple/ bad carbs should

be avoided because they offer little to no nutritional value, while adding too many calories to our

diet; this makes them “empty” calories. Fruit juice, sweets, cakes and fizzy drinks are examples of

simple carbohydrates.

Carbs for a Gymnast

Although carbohydrates may be given a bad name, carbs are actually needed as immediate and

short-term sources of energy for a gymnast. The energy released from carbohydrates takes the form

of glycogen which is stored in the muscles. A gymnast’s storage of glycogen becomes very low after

exercise and so needs to be replaced.

Many gymnasts surprisingly opt for a low carb diet. That is because gymnastics, unlike swimming or

long-distance running, is considered an anaerobic sport, one in which short, intense bursts of power

are much more important than endurance. Consequently, having lots of complex sugars stored up,

which doesn’t help a gymnast that much. Most gymnasts try to get between 60 and 70 percent of

their calories from proteins like meats and cheeses, the rest from carbs like whole-grain pasta, fruits,

and fats like oils from peanuts.


Protein has a great number of vital roles in the body an important role is building and repairing

body tissues, including muscle. Essential body processes such as nutrient transport and muscle

contractions require protein to function. Protein is also a source of energy and like most other

essential nutrients is absolutely crucial for overall good health. Proteins are the main actioners

in cells and in an entire organism. Without proteins the most basic functions of life could not be

carried out. Respiration, for example, requires muscle contractions, and muscle contractions require

proteins. Meats, fish and soybeans are examples of protein foods.

Protein for a Gymnast

A high-protein diet is beneficial to gymnasts. First, the routines used in gymnastics are short and

require high bursts of energy. Protein provides this type of energy. Also a high-protein diet is

helpful because protein repairs broken down muscle tissue.The strengthening process includes

your muscles enduring small tears which are then rebuilt, resulting in increased strength.Protein is

the material that rebuilds your muscles. Finally, high-protein diets help gymnasts keep their weight

down. In gymnastics extra body weight can slow you down and make it more difficult for you to

perform the required skills. Eating a high-protein diet can help you stay lean and reduce your body

fat percentage.


Fats perform a range of functions in the body and are one of the three