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Good nutrition is important for maintaining health for all walks of life and is a powerful tool for supporting exercise performance and recovery. Whether an athlete’s goal is to finish a half marathon, be named player of the match in a soccer game or lift the heaviest weights in the gym; a healthy diet, along with well-planned nutrition strategies, are key to success.



Nutrition refers to the interaction between the nutrients found in food and the body. A good diet should meet the body’s energy and nutrient needs and promote a healthy and active lifestyle. A varied diet consisting of wholegrains, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, dairy products, legumes, eggs, lean meats, or meat alternatives is recommended. If consumed frequently, less healthy foods like those containing alcohol, saturated fats, refined sugars, and salt can lead to the development of lifestyle diseases. Before deciding to adopt multiple nutrition and supplement strategies to support exercise performance, active individuals should make sure their day-to-day dietary habits are supportive of a healthy lifestyle.



Even in a state of rest, the body needs energy to perform basic functions. Macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) are calorie-containing foods that are broken down into energy in the body. If energy-containing foods are frequently consumed in excess, weight-gain occurs. Similarly, not eating enough to fuel the body’s needs will cause weight-loss. Athletes need to make sure they are eating enough food to fuel their body for exercise. Insufficient energy intake can be damaging to health and has a negative effect on exercise performance. Active individuals who exercise around 3 x per week for 30-40 minutes at a time can generally meet their energy requirements through a normal diet consisting of between 7 500-10 000 kilojoules (kJ) per day depending on their body weight. The more exercise a person does, the more calories they need to fuel their training. For example, an elite cyclist in the Tour de France may need an additional 50 000 kJ per day to meet their needs.



Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source and should make up 45 to 65% of daily energy intake. This is around 3-5 grams of carbohydrates per kg body weight per day (g/kg/day). Good sources of carbohydrates include foods like grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, dairy, and legumes. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the bloodstream; where they are either immediately used for energy or stored in the liver and muscles for later use. Choosing high-fibre carbohydrates like wholegrains is important for gut health, keeps us feeling fuller for longer and allows for a sustained release of energy over time. For this reason, many of the FUTURELIFE® products are high in dietary fibre! 


Athletes carrying out endurance or high-intensity exercise rely heavily on carbohydrates for energy and performance and may need at least 5-8 g/kg/day to meet their needs. Consuming carbohydrates before, during and after exercise can help to reduce fatigue, improve performance, and enhance recovery after training. The carbohydrates consumed around the time of exercise should be easily absorbed to provide the body with an energy boost. FUTURELIFEŽ HIGH ENERGY Bars are a great option here as they are packed with fast-absorbing carbohydrates to fuel the body and optimise exercise performance!



Protein not only performs multiple functions in the body but is particularly important for muscle health. Good sources of protein include lean meat, eggs, dairy, soy, and legumes. The recommended protein intake for the general population is 0.8-1.0 g/kg/day. Protein needs for athletes are higher at 1.4-2 g/kg/day, depending on the type of exercise. Strength and power athletes like weightlifters and sprinters will generally have higher protein needs than endurance athletes. Distributing protein intake throughout the day is more beneficial for muscle health than consuming a large volume all at once6. After exercise, the rate at which the body builds muscle is increased. Providing the body with protein during this time can help to support muscle growth and recovery. Studies have shown that a blend of good quality protein sources is more beneficial for muscle growth and recovery when compared to a single source of protein. FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart food™ is a balanced food and the perfect companion for any athlete. It is scientifically formulated with SmartProtein3D™, a protein blend that combines three different protein sources (whey, casein, and soy) which are released in the body at different rates, providing the muscles with protein over a sustained period thereby optimising the muscle recovery process.



The fat requirements of athletes are like those of the general population, which recommends a fat intake of 20-35% of total energy. Athletes should opt for healthier, unsaturated fats such as those found in plant oils, nuts, and seeds, instead of the less healthy saturated fats commonly found in animal-derived products. High fat or ketogenic diets have become popular in the sporting world and recommend a fat intake of between 70 and 80% of total energy intake. The aim behind these diets is to promote the use of fat, rather than glucose, as an energy source. However, the overall efficiency of the ketogenic diet is not well known, and more research is needed before this diet is recommended.



Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients needed by the body in small amounts. The recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for vitamins and minerals are the same for athletes as they are for the general population. Each vitamin and mineral plays a vital role in maintaining overall health. Deficiencies of certain micronutrients like iron, calcium and vitamin D can cause illness, injury and negatively affect exercise performance. The best way to meet micronutrient requirements is to follow a varied diet consisting of nutritious foods. Just one 50g serving of FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ or HIGH PROTEIN Smart food™ contains 50% of your daily requirements for all vitamins and most minerals. In cases of a diagnosed nutrient deficiency, micronutrient supplements may be needed. Athletes should consult a healthcare professional before deciding to take a supplement.



Hydration plays a significant role in health and exercise ability. Studies have shown that dehydration of just 2% can negatively affect exercise performance8. Athletes should aim to drink between 2.5 and 3 litres of water per day to meet fluid needs and avoid dehydration. This is especially important during intense exercise or in very hot/ humid conditions. Research has shown that replacing fluid lost through sweat with plain water is not as effective as fluid taken in combination with carbohydrates and electrolytes like sodium. FUTURELIFEŽ HIGH ENERGY Bars contain both carbohydrates and electrolytes to help keep you fuelled and hydrated during exercise!



For many physically active people, a balanced diet should be sufficient to maintain health and fuel the body for exercise. However, athletes that take part in moderate or intense exercise more frequently may need to consume four to six meals per day to meet the energy and nutrient demands of training. This is not always easy, which is why energy and nutrient-dense supplements like bars, shakes, gels, and drinks are useful. FUTURELIFEŽ products are nutrient-dense and can be enjoyed any time of day. With its special dual-pouch technology, FUTURELIFEŽ ENERGIZEŽ Drinking Meal is the perfect choice for a busy athlete. 



Many supplements contain specific ingredients that aim to support exercise performance and recovery. Some well-known performance enhancing ingredients include caffeine, creatine, nitrate, bicarbonate, and B-alanine. Each ingredient works differently and may improve exercise performance in specific cases. An ingredient that is becoming popular in the world of sports nutrition is collagen. Collagen is a type of protein that is important for skin, bone, joint and muscle health. Supplementation with hydrolysed collagen peptides has been shown to prevent cartilage degeneration, assist with joint mobility, improve bone strength and help to build and repair muscles. FUTURELIFE® REPAIR FOOD™ is a specially developed, high-protein supplement containing 10 g of hydrolyzed collagen peptides, as well as branched chain amino acids, calcium and magnesium chelates, vitamin C and D. These key ingredients work together to optimize muscle, joint and bone health, and support recovery after exercise.


Good nutrition is essential for maintaining overall health and optimising exercise performance. Athletes are encouraged to eat a variety of healthy foods to meet daily energy and nutrient needs. Drinking enough fluid is also essential for exercise performance. In times where it is difficult to meet nutrient and energy requirements, nutrient-dense foods and supplements are useful. FUTURELIFEŽ products are designed to support a healthy and active lifestyle and can help athletes meet their full potential! 



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BY: Roslynn van Schoor /   DATE: March 2024 

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