Diet is one of the important and basic biological needs of man. It is the foundation for good health. It is essential for life, growth and repair of human body, regulation of body mechanism and production of energy for work. The above functions of diet can be achieved only through adequate nutrition which should consist of essential nutrients in the required proportion. These nutrients include Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats, Minerals and Vitamins. Nutritious diet is always recommended for healthy body and mind. In case of Sportsman / Athlete nutritious diet plays an important role in their performance. Because during sports training, the energy requirement of the players is high as such the diet should be accordingly planned otherwise the players will not have the stamina to withstand the training and the player will show the signs of fatigue which may result in internal and external injuries to the players.

Diet for Sports Persons


Nutrition is important aspect for all, especially for Sportsman / Athlete. They need balanced food to maintain their stamina. Good food habit provides them energy to perform their activities in a better way. Thus, they should organize their diet by taking good quality food to maintain their health.


The energy requirement of a Sportsman / Athlete depends on various factors.

The right sports diet should have adequate provision for the following:-

  1. Quantity: Calories according to sports.
  2. Quality: Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fluids
  3. Variety: Different types of food
  4. Palatability: Proper cooking
  5. Acceptability: To suit different customs, habits and tastes.


Carbohydrates are considered as primary source of energy for the sports persons of any types of sports. Before, during as well as after their activities, their bodies must consistently have the adequate supply of carbohydrates. The diets for any sports person should be properly managed to help him or her exhibit better performances. The ratio of the nutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, lipids – should also alter if the sports person is playing regularly based on the stage of the activity. As per the balanced diet for usual activities, the requirement of carbohydrates should be 50-55% of daily calorie supply; but for the sports person playing regularly should consider 55-65% of the supply after the initial supply of glycogen is exhausted. However, the requirements of energy vary according to the nature of sports the person is playing, its intensity and the duration of the particular sports. While at rest, the body usually spends 60 kcal / hour, whereas skiing downhill for an hour would burn out 580 kcal. Also during any difficult matches the 110kg weighing rugby player may even use up over 1,000 kcal.

The approximate percentages of calories which may be derived from different components of nutrients are as given below: –

Carbohydrates Protein Fat
Light sports 60% 15% 25%
Moderate sports 60% 14% 26%
Heavy sports 60% 13% 27%
Endurance sports 60% 12% 28%


The energy requirements of the players is dependent on body size and composition, age, physical activity, climate and environment.

  1. Age: – The energy requirement of adolescent and adults are greater than that of children and old people. Most of the active sportsperson belong to growing age group of adolescents and adults.
  2. Sex: – All other factors remaining constant. The energy requirement of women is relatively less than that of men.
  3. Body weight: – Energy requirement is directly proportional to the body weight. It increases or decreases according to the type of activity and muscles involved during exercise period.
  4. Climate and Environment: – In hot and humid environment, energy requirement is less. Higher the altitude, colder the climate and greater will be the energy requirement. Athletes, who undertake regular motivated physical exercises, develop the capacity to lose heat efficiently.
  5. Physical activities: – The energy requirement of an athlete depends on the intensity, duration and types of his activities.

Based on these, it can further be grouped under following four categories:-

Group I: – Light sports, Sedentary sports or skill games, ex: – Chess and carom

Energy requirement: – The energy requirement of athletes doing these sports would be 50 calories/kg body weight/ day.

Group II: – Moderate sports. These sports involve skill, moderate strength and moderate
endurance. Ex: – Badminton, Cricket, Table Tennis

Energy requirement: – 60 calories /kg body weight/day

Group III: – Heavy sports. They involve skill, maximum strength and high endurance. Ex: – Boxing, Football, Hockey, Squash.

Energy requirements: – 70 calories /kg body weight/day

Nutrition Advisory Committee, Indian Council of Medical Research has recommended the following calorie in-take of an Indian:-

Men 55 Kg Women 45 Kg
Sedentary work 2400 calories 1900 calories
Moderate work 2800 calories 2200 calories
Heavy work / Players 3900 calories 3000 calories

The following food consumed per day provides 5000 kilo calories to an athlete :-

CEREALS 600 gm
BUTTER 15 gm
JAM 15 gm
EGGS 02 Nos.
PULSES 60 gm
MILK 500 gm
OIL 200 gm
MUTTON 200 gm
CHICKEN/FISH 150 – 300 gm
FRUITS 150 gm
TEA/ COFFEE 80/20 gm
SALT 40 gm


All sports people require a balanced diet with an appropriate intake of carbohydrate, protein and fat. It is better to table a diet chart during the training period as well as the time of match/ competitions for various sport activities in consultation with a proper dietician.
Proper diet not only helps to improve the performance of the players but also considerably reduces the internal and external injuries. A sportsman, however hard he works on his event, will not achieve his goal unless he is supported with the right kind of nutrition, both qualitative and quantitative as he is considered to be under severe stress, both physical and mental.
“HEALTH IS WEALTH” – this saying suits to the sportsperson also. The wealth of a sportsperson is his or her performance. So health plays major role for their stamina and for better performance. Sportsperson needs good quality food, fitness and courage.


  1. Accessed on 28th Feb 2011
  2. Accessed on 1st March 2011
  3. Accessed on 27th Feb 2011.
  4. Accessed on 1st March 2011.