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Nutritional Guidelines for Physical Fitness

The Physical Fitness tests conducted by the Indian Army is quite demanding and requires proper preparation to ensure that the performance is optimal during the rally. Some of the factors one has to consider are given below:-

  • Candidates achieve peak performance by training and eating balanced diet including a variety of foods.
  • Carbohydrates and fat provide fuel for the body.
  • The use of fat as a fuel source depends on the intensity and duration of the exercise, as well as the condition of the candidate.
  • Practice may increase the candidate’s need for protein.
  • Water is a critical nutrient for the candidate. Dehydration can cause muscle cramping and fatigue and increase the risk of heat stroke.
  • Candidates require good training and conditioning and a sensible diet

Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are an important fuel source. As training session increases, carbohydrate utilization increases. Candidate should consume between 6 – 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day. Complex carbohydrates come from foods such as potatoes, beans, vegetables, whole grains, cereals and other grain products. Simple carbohydrates are found in foods such as fruits, milk, honey and sugar.

Additionally, taking carbohydrates during the event in the form of carbohydrate solutions, such as electrolyte drinks can be beneficial. Sports drink can be used to supply sodium and glucose if the athlete tolerates them, candidate should experiment during training to find if electrolyte beverages are right for them.

Fats:

Using fat as fuel on the training depends on the candidate condition. If the practice lasts more than an hour, the body may use mostly fats for energy. Best sources of fat are butter, cheese, milk, dairy products, almonds, eggs etc.

Proteins:

Proteins do not contribute to the energy needs. However, it is important for muscle building and repair that occur after training. The candidates under physical training / athlete’s require 1.2 – 1.4 grams of protein per body weight per day. Sources of proteins include fish, milk, egg, cheese, whole some grains, sprouts, mixed nuts.

Water:

To avoid dehydration, candidate should drink 5 to 7 ml per kilogram of body mass approximately four hours before an event. Throughout the event, they should drink chilled water or electrolyte drinks, consuming enough to match sweat losses. Chilled fluids are absorbed faster and help lower body temperature.

NOTE: An individual should never gain weight during practice; this is a sign of excessive hydration, which can lead to electrolyte imbalances.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Have a balanced diet including a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese) and dry fruits. The combined form of water soluble (B and C) and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) is required in the diet. Minerals play an important role in training and performance section. Heavy training affect’s the body’s supply of sodium, potassium, iron and calcium. Eating potassium/sodium rich foods such as oranges, bananas and potatoes throughout training and after competition should help. Choosing foods high in iron such as red meat, lentils, dark leafy vegetables and fortified cereals can help prevent iron deficiencies.

THE PRE-RALLY MEAL:

Having food before competition can increase performance when compared to exercising in fasted state. A pre-rally meal three or four hours before the event allows for optimal digestion and energy supply. This meal should be sufficient but not excessive, so as to prevent both hunger and undigested food. The meal should be high in starch ( cereals, whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables). Take in adequate fluids during pre-rally time.

All the best!

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