Compare the dietary requirements of athletes in different sports

Compare the dietary requirements of athletes in different sports2016-11-26T17:56:36+10:00

The HSC PDHPE syllabus asks you to compare the dietary requirements of athletes in different sports. This comparison includes: pre, during and post performance requirements. In order to compare these dietary requirements I am going to refer to Sports Dietitians Australia and their resources.
In this comparison we will be comparing dietary requirements of athletes in soccer and gymnastics.



Players will need ~5-8 grams carbohydrate per kg of body weight a day to fuel training sessions and prepare for matches.



Pre Competition

Eat high carbohydrate food 2-4 hrs prior, eg) pasta or rice

Light carbohydrate snack 1-2 hrs prior to top up fuel stores, eg) yoghurt, museli bar


During Competition

Players with high workloads benefit from half time snack, eg) chopped fruit

Players should access fluids as frequently as possible (keep a bottle in the goals, injury breaks and formal breaks). Sports drinks are beneficial.


Post Competition

A recovery meal that contains carbohydrates, protein and fluid within ~60 minutes, eg) chicken and rice soup or mash potato and lean beef with a water to replace fluids lost.




Low body mass is advantageous, therefore eating nutritious food with energy over energy foods is recommended.

Eating disorders and low iron levels can be an issue. Restrictive diets are not recommended.


Pre Competition

Light carbohydrate meal to keep the stomach settled 1-2 hrs prior to warm up, eg) fruit and yoghurt


During Competition

Easy to digest foods easy on the stomach with carbohydrates for performance (especially if multiple performances throughout the day), eg) fruit and nuts.

Gymnasts should drink water between performances.


Post Competition

Carbohydrate snack should be eaten straight after cool down, followed by a meal with carbohydrate and protein for recovery.

They should also replace fluid lost with water.

Further reading can be found by clicking the following links: Soccer Fact Sheet or Gymnastics – Fact sheet.

When we compare the dietary requirements of athletes in the two sports, soccer performance lasts longer and benefits from sports drinks and greater intake of carbohydrate than gymnastics. However, gymnastics requires a leaner physique and strength, therefore, benefiting from greater intake of protein. Given gymnastics can include multiple performances a day for more than 1 day, requirements will be specific to the event.

Further dietary requirements of various sports can be found here.