Jumping Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Athletes
If you are an athlete competing in any one of the four jumping events of field athletics, namely long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault; your power to weight ratio is a critical success factor and consequently it is vitally important that you seek to optimise your body muscle composition whilst at the same time maintaining low levels of body fat.
With regard to training nutrition, you should ideally aim to consume enough carbohydrates to feed your body sufficiently, so your energy intake should reflect your daily exercise intensity.
You should try to maintain low levels of body fat while at the same time eating enough variable food to achieve your nutritional requirements and allow the development and repair of muscle.
as a jump specialist your power to weight ratio is a critical success factor and consequently it is vitally important that you seek to optimise your body muscle composition whilst at the same time maintaining low levels of body fat
It’s also important that your diet should be nutrient-rich, which means including foods like cereals, granary bread, fresh and dried fruit, low-fat dairy products and fresh vegetables.
Protein sources such as meat, fish, eggs, chicken, reduced-fat dairy products, tofu and lentils should also be incorporated, while energy-rich foods – takeaways, pizzas, cakes, pastries, chocolate, sweets, fizzy drinks and alcohol – should be generally avoided, or at least consumed only sparingly.
Before and after exercise you should try to include appropriate snacks and drinks aimed at maximising your performance and aiding recovery and rehydration.
How much you eat should compensate equally for the intensity and duration of the training session, with a greater emphasis on carbohydrate for sprinting sessions, and carbohydrate and/or protein for weight training.
It is important to remember that a diet with a good nutritional foundation will help to optimise your athletic performance and provide sufficient nutrients and energy to promote your post exercise/competition rehabilitation and avoid any food-related stress.
Physical attributes and power to weight ratios
To be successful in the jumping events you need to be muscular and strong, have an excellent power to weight ratio as well as having a low level of body fat.
If you are a male athlete then you are fortunate in that the latter (low body fat) usually occurs naturally.
However, you will find that you quite often have to reduce body mass in the period leading up to an athletic competition.
This is primarily because some of the extra muscle built up during out-of-season training is not specific to any sport, so must be carefully trimmed off in order to achieve your ideal build for competition.
Most female athletes also need to alter their food consumption and dietary regimen in order to reach their optimum levels of muscle to body fat ratios.
If you find you do need to reduce your body fat levels you should focus on identifying any excess energy in your diet by replacing sugar-rich foods with more nutrient-filled ones.
Training for jump specialists
All jumping events (long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault) require an athlete to accelerate up to the leap itself at a high speed, take off into the jump and land both safely and efficiently.
It takes a lot of skill to do this effectively and how practiced you are will help or hinder your success in competition.
Always remember the old adage “practice makes perfect”.
Off-season training for jump specialists should concentrate on speed, endurance, running, weight sessions, and plyometrics – the type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movement and improve the functions of the nervous system.
In the run-up to the start of the athletic season and competitions, transfer your training focus to a combination of speed, technical sessions, and developing strength and power.
As all of this training has a high physical impact on the body, it is also important to work on flexibility and core body strength all-year round.
Having done all this, you should be more than ready for competition.
It goes without saying that the right preparation is vital.
Since jumping activities won’t deplete glycogen stores, on the day of competition it is desirable to top up your stores to their normal resting level – this can be done with your normal carbohydrate intake – and a day to a day and a half of resting or extremely light training before the event.
During this period a reduced intake of fibre might also be helpful and items such as liquid food supplements may be utilised as a pre-competition meal.
The main objective is for you to feel comfortable, fully prepared and confident as you line up for your jump.
For an athlete, that one single jump may involve just a brief and rapid consumption of energy, but the competition might drag on for hours, with qualifying rounds alone lasting two to three hours or even more; so the focus of your eating at this stage should be to retain your blood sugar levels, remain fully hydrated and stay comfortable.
Energy drinks can be very helpful in meeting both your fuel, in the form of carbohydrates, and liquid needs throughout a competition.
As field event finals are of short duration but require maximum effort, creatine can also be a valuable nutritional supplement for any athlete involved in this type of “explosive” sport.
As creatine increases muscular storage of phosphocreatine, which is vital for energy release in anaerobic activity, field athletes can benefit from having more power behind their jumps and increasing speed output.
It is always good practice to experiment with your training and nutrition programmes so you can be more confident of your routine and pre-event preparation when it comes to the competition itself so as to avoid any surprises.
Post-competition nutrition and recovery
After an intense training session or competition it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.
The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; specialist jump athletes need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.
There are three golden rules to successful athlete rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:
Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after competition or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.
If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.
Want to get involved in jumping?
If you’re not currently involved in one of the four jumping events of field athletics, namely long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to athletics organisations that may be able to help you.
Want help with nutrition?
Get in touch now for more information about jumping nutrition and the use of sports supplements to improve your speed, strength, power and fitness for better performances. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.