Sprinter Diet : Approaches

Sprinter Diet

Sprinter Diet: Approaches to Optimize Training Adaptation and Performance

Although sprinting athletes are assumed to primarily focus on promoting muscle hypertrophy, the ability to create explosive muscle power is critical to sprinting performance. This shows the track sprinter’s physical form described as “Ectomesophorphies”. Although there is little contemporary data on sprinters’ dietary habits, given their moderate energy needs relative to body mass, a carbohydrate intake within the range of 6–8g kg 1 day 1 is recommended. This article will discuss the sprinter diet in particular for teens.


What should a teenage sprinter eat?

Teenagers need extra calories to fuel both their sports performance and their growth. Their bodies are less likely to achieve peak performance if they don’t eat enough. Athletes who don’t take in enough calories every day won’t be as fast and strong as they could be. 

Cutting back on calories can lead to growth problems and a higher risk of fractures and other injuries. Teen athletes need extra fuel, so it’s usually a bad idea to diet. Athletes in sports where there’s a focus on weight might feel pressure to lose weight (A Guide to Eating for Sports (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth, 2021).

What to eat before sprinting in the morning? a slice of multigrain bread with peanut butter is available, perhaps a few nuts or even a banana is good for a meal plan for sprinters.

Here’s a sample meal plan for sprinters to follow for a typical training day.

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How many calories should a runner consume each day?

A meal for sprinters should take between 6 and 8 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight, between 1.2 and 1.8 grams of protein, and between 25 and 30 percent of their daily calories from healthy fats.


Physique and Body Composition Periodization

An agile, thin frame with less body fat and lean muscles is necessary for sprinters. Furthermore, sprinting is a HIIT activity, thus it completely depletes glycogen after a vigorous session.

Determinants of Sprint Performance

Training as a short-distance runner involves weight training 3-4 times per week, as well as interval training with sprint training. Short-distance running is the sprinting events 400m and below. At these distances, muscular power and anaerobic metabolism come into play, and there is no endurance element. 

Leg strength is vital and a good start off the blocks can make all the difference.


Most of your carbohydrate sources should be complex, such as brown rice, whole grains, veggies, etc., so they can keep providing you with nutrients throughout
the day to aid in recovery. You should have enough protein and simple carbohydrates after
working out to refuel your glycogen levels.

Competition Nutrition Strategies

Following a good meal plan for sprinters will be ideal for a typical day’s training. Carbohydrate loading pre-event is also advised to maximize the muscle and liver carbohydrate stores. Sprinters usually carry a higher-than-average lean muscle mass, and the power-to-weight ratio is significant.

The meals you’ve had over the preceding several days and weeks will have an impact on how
well you perform on game day. Paying attention to the food you eat on game day can help you
perform even better. Concentrate on eating a diet low in fat, moderate in protein, and high in
3 to 4 hours before an exercise, eat a meal. Maintain a minimal fat intake while including lots of
carbs and some protein. An upset stomach might result from fat since it takes longer to digest.
Pasta, bread, fruits, and vegetables are examples of carbs. Eat and drink fewer sweet things.
Eat a smaller supper or snack with simple-to-digest carbohydrate-containing items, including fruit, crackers, or bread, three hours or less before a game or practice.
Experts advise eating within 30 minutes of intensive exercise and again two hours later after the game or event. Continue to stay hydrated and consume a healthy balance of lean protein and
carbs as your body will be repairing muscle and restoring energy stores and fluids.
Since everyone is unique, find out what suits you the most. To be better prepared for game day, you might wish to experiment with meal timing and portion size on practice days (Gavin, 2021).


Supplementation with the sports supplement creatine monohydrate may also be worth considering in a meal for sprinters.

Several substances may have an impact on sprint performance or training. In longer sprints, beta-alanine and bicarbonate may be helpful as buffering agents. In addition to perhaps improving the intensity of repeat sprint performance during training, creatine may be effective for boosting muscle mass and strength (Tipton, Kevin & Jeukendrup, Asker & Hespel, Peter, 2007).


Recovery from training and competition, as well as affecting training adaptations, are the main functions of nutrition in sprints. Sprinters want to gain more muscle mass and power since the power-to-mass ratio significantly influences how well they perform in sprints. Extra weight that doesn’t boost power, though, might be harmful. Consuming enough protein and energy is crucial for building muscle.

Energy intake is essential because it determines whether increased mass and strength may be achieved with a variety of protein intakes if energy balance is maintained. The majority of meal plans for sprinters contain enough protein. Individual athletes and training demands determine the amount of energy and protein required for successful training adaptations

However, provided enough fat and carbohydrate are ingested to maintain energy levels, an increase in protein intake is unlikely to have negative impact.

Good sources of natural protein are fish, lean meats and poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy, and peanut butter (Gavin, 2021).



Some popular recovery foods among athletes include:

  • Turkey sandwiches
  • Pasta dishes
  • Rice bowls with vegetables and beans or chicken
  • A banana and low-fat chocolate milk (full-fat milk may be harder to digest after a workout)
  • Whole-grain crackers and peanut butter
  • A smoothie with yogurt and frozen berries
  • Find the food combinations that make you feel best and enjoy! And don’t forget to also rehydrate during recovery—possibly with a sports drink to replenish electrolytes.



Even mild dehydration can affect an athlete’s physical and mental performance. How much fluid each person needs depends on their age, size, and level of physical activity. Don’t use energy drinks and other caffeine-containing drinks, like soda, tea, and coffee, for rehydration (Gavin, 2021).


Nutrients for Teen Sprinters

The type, time, and nutrients consumed concurrently must be taken into consideration while developing the optimum dietary strategies for enhancing muscle building and strength.
On the day of the race, athletes should avoid meals that make them feel bloated, fatigued, or dehydrated.
One of the finest methods to boost your general health is by eating a balanced diet. Getting the necessary nutrition is crucial to keeping your body functioning properly. Everyone is aware that a balanced diet should include the recommended serving sizes of fruits, whole grains, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats (Regenisis, 2015).
What you want to replace are foods that are white, processed, fried, and heavy in calories. The better choices for your health are whole wheat pasta and bread. Instead of frying your chicken and french fries, bake them in the oven. Steam your vegetables rather than boiling them (Regenesis, 2015).
The finest sources of healthy fats are salmon, avocado, almonds, flax seeds, and olive oil.
Calcium helps build the strong bones that athletes depend on. To get the iron you need, eat lean meat, fish, and poultry; leafy green vegetables; and iron-fortified cereals. Calcium is found in dairy foods, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese (Gavin, 2021).

How many calories should a young sprinter consume?

While recent research from Ladbrokes suggested Bolt eats 5,500 calories a day, GoCompare found that the athlete consumes 2,273 calories a day throughout five meals, a fairly moderate number considering the amount of training he undergoes (Dawson, 2017).

Best food for sprinters

Good sources of carbohydrates for sprinters include whole grains, rice, pasta, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and quinoa. Choose a variety of healthy fats including nuts, seeds, oils derived from vegetables, lean cuts of meat, and cold-water fish.



Dawson, A. (Apr 4, 2017) Business Insider. What Usain Bolt Eats All Day. Retrieved October 9, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.com/what-usain-bolt-eats-all-day-2017-4

Gavin, M. (2021, January 1). A Guide to Eating for Sports (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth. Retrieved October 9, 2022, from https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/eatnrun.html

Meal Plan for a Runner – Short Distance / Sprinter. (n.d.). Meal Plan for a Runner – Short Distance / Sprinter. Retrieved September 7, 2022, from https://www.mealplansite.com/sports/runner-short-distance.aspx

Regenesis Fitness PT Studio & Gym. (2015). Regenesis Fitness PT Studio & Gym. Retrieved October 9, 2022, from https://www.regenesisfitness.com.au/

Tipton, Kevin & Jeukendrup, Asker & Hespel, Peter. (2007). Nutrition for the sprinter. Journal of sports sciences. 25 Suppl 1. S5-15. 10.1080/02640410701607205.




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