A vademecum of nutritional advice and menus ideal for the nutrition of every athlete. The Iias-Italian Institute of Frozen Foods developed it together with the sports doctor Michelangelo Giampietro. “The recent pandemic, with all its restrictions, has caused the need for sport to explode as a natural and essential need and has brought Italians even closer to the culture of fitness, well-being and physical activity, which is now conceived as a ‘lifestyle’. As always happens, the arrival of the Olympics, this year in Tokyo, will further increase this passion. But every sporting practice, to bear fruit, must always be accompanied by proper nutrition, varied and balanced – comments Giorgio Donegani, president of Iias – In this scenario, sub-zero products can help control the quantities of food eaten and therefore also calories. Furthermore, they allow you to easily follow a diversified diet, guaranteeing the availability of fish and vegetables at any time of the year, they are easy and quick to prepare, therefore suitable for any diet, even sporty ones “. Some data: in 2019 alone, 849,900 tons of ‘subzero’ products were purchased in our country (+ 1.3% compared to 2018), with vegetables and fish in pole position, whose consumption touched respectively, in the Retail channel, 228,000 tons (+ 0.5% compared to 2018) and 94,150 tons (+ 1.2% compared to 2018). A decidedly positive trend, which was also confirmed in the first four months of 2020, in which overall sales of frozen food in the Retail sector increased by + 13.5%. For Michelangelo Giampietro, specialist in Sports Medicine and Food Science, “the success of a physical activity program is always the result of 3 fundamental components (excluding genetics): training, nutrition / hydration and rest. . Only a healthy athlete can be well trained and, through personalized training, improve their abilities with positive repercussions in the competitive phase. The diet model that has the greatest positive feedback from scientific evidence is the Mediterranean Diet: green light, therefore, to a varied diet, in which nothing should be missing. The important thing is to prefer a good amount of carbohydrates and proteins; yes to extra virgin olive oil, fruit and vegetables, the latter also in the frozen version “. “Subzero products – continues Giampietro – are suitable for the sportsman’s diet, for many reasons: practicality, healthiness, safety guaranteed by the cold chain, in addition to the total absence of preservatives, as it is precisely the cold that keeps them intact in the time the nutritional properties. A curiosity: the ideal supplement for post-workout is the Italian minestrone, rich in vegetables, legumes, pasta or other cereals, with parmesan and raw oil. It is advisable to consume it at least 2-3 times a week, both fresh and frozen. Playing sports and following a balanced diet does not mean giving up some whims, however. Once or twice a week, for example, we can enjoy a nice pizza or tasty baked potatoes without any problems (also in the subzero version) staying in shape “. With the help of Michelangelo Giampietro, Iias has therefore developed a vademecum of nutritional advice and menus ideal for those who practice five sports in particular: running, swimming, tennis, combat sports and artistic gymnastics. “Between long duration and power sports there are no substantial differences in nutrition in the training phase, although athletes who need to have more muscle mass (those of speed, strength and power) should increase the protein intake, while for those who are preparing to do a marathon or a triathlon a greater ‘load’ of carbohydrates is necessary, especially in the 3 days before the race. Even in team sports, such as football or rugby, there is it is necessary to load the muscles with glycogen (the sugar reserve in the muscles and in the liver). As a general rule: in the sportsman’s diet, the need for carbohydrates is tripled-quadrupled, while that for proteins is doubled “, explains Giampietro. In the tank, for speed races, the recommended amount of protein rises from 1 g per kg of body weight desirable (for the moderately active population) to 1.2-2 g per kg of body weight, to be taken with fish products and legumes, fresh or frozen, as well as white meats, cheeses and eggs. Instead, for long-distance training, it is better to favor the intake of foods rich in carbohydrates such as pasta. If you are short on time, but need to do a high intensity workout, it is always best to avoid a meal that is too large, too fat and too rich in protein, before physical activity. In general, it is important that the diet that precedes physical effort is made up of easily digestible foods and favors carbohydrates “, explains the expert. For runners, the diet varies according to the type of race to be tackled, but in all cases, even in this situation carbohydrates play a fundamental role. “Marathon runners can even consume 12 g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight desirable, with ‘only’ 1.2-1.5 g of protein, a little higher than those assumed by the amateur sportsman. Also, for long workouts, taking in fat moderately is fine; those who participate in speed races such as 100 meters, on the other hand, do not have the need to excessively load themselves with sugars to increase muscle glycogen reserves, which are still necessary for fast races from 200 meters upwards. In general, however, it is important that the runner’s diet is varied and includes not only carbohydrates but also the proteins of fish products, white meats, eggs and dairy products, as well as generous amounts of fruit and vegetables “, Giampietro continues. In order to be strong but agile, in combat sports there is a need for greater muscle mass, obtained by slightly increasing the amount of protein taken, which does not necessarily have to be animal but can also be vegetable. then to legumes (also in the frozen version), together with meat, fish and eggs, without forgetting that cereals also contain proteins. “As a protein source, for sportsmen in general, fish is excellent, as it has less fat than meat ( except white meats) and is also more digestible. It can be eaten fresh or frozen; the choice is equivalent: frozen fish has in fact the same nutritional value as fresh fish “, comments Giampietro. Vegetables, which have the least calories of all foods, certainly cannot be missing in a gymnast’s diet. Both raw and cooked, both fresh than frozen. “Vegetables – suggests Giampietro – supply the body with water, fiber, vitamins and minerals.” The tennis player? “In general, the diet of tennis players does not require large quantities of carbohydrates. Since it is a power sport, with fast movements, and the game exchanges to win the points are short, it is better to adopt a balanced nutritional proposal and abound with fruit and vegetables, even in the frozen version, especially suitable for those who practice this sport in summer, when a lot of fluids are lost. Carbohydrates will always be present in good quantities, without neglecting the other nutrients, proteins and fats, but it is only necessary to increase these two categories of foods. In the field changes, as snacks it is better to prefer dried apricots, dates, raisins, biscuits and light baked desserts with low fat “. Furthermore, he concludes,” never neglect hydration. All athletes, whatever the discipline they practice and whatever their level of performance, must drink a lot and always pay attention to their state of hydration “.