It is well accepted by nutrition and fitness organizations that nutrition is a critical factor in enhancing athletic performance, injury prevention, recovery and resiliency in athletes. The appropriate selection of foods and fluids, proportions of macronutrients and timing of when ingested are important for maximum performance and give an edge to competition/combat. Proper nutrition provides adequate Calories, protein and many other nutrients necessary to support the HITT program workouts and improve performance, while maintaining body weight and body composition.
Marines need to consume adequate Calories to support high-intensity or long-duration training. This is often overlooked as there seems to be a priority placed on protein consumption rather than overall calories. Inadequate calories can result in loss of muscle mass, loss of bone density and an increased risk of fatigue, illness, injuries and poor recovery.
Dietary protein is required to promote growth, repair damaged cells and tissue, synthesize hormones, and for a variety of metabolic activities. While sedentary and active people use protein the same way, tactical athletes may need higher amounts due to increased protein synthesis post exercise. Recommended protein intakes for tactical athletes can be met through diet alone without the use of protein supplements. It is generally recommended that protein intakes fall within 1.2 - 1.7 gm/kg (0.5 - 0.8 gm/lb.) bodyweight for tactical athletes depending on type and amount of physical activity. Higher amounts of protein show no additional benefit in numerous studies
Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. Carbohydrates maintain blood glucose during exercise and replaces muscle glycogen after exercise. Choosing high quality carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, beans, brown rice, whole wheat breads, pasta and other grains), and limiting refined, processed carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, cookies, cakes, chips and other junk food) gives the body the best fuel while maintaining blood glucose levels. Besides water, carbohydrates are the most limiting factor of physical performance and the amount and timing of carbohydrate ingestion is imperative for best functioning. It is generally recommended that carbohydrates fall within 6 - 10 gm/kg (2.7 - 4.5 gm/lb.) depending on type and amount of physical activity
Fat is a source of energy, provides essential fatty acids, carries fat soluble vitamins and is an important nutrient for tactical athletes. The focus should be placed on including monounsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, nuts and seeds, natural peanut butter, avocado and fatty fish like salmon) while limiting saturated fats (butter, high fat red meat, fried foods, hydrogenated and trans fats, desserts, cheese and other whole fat dairy) in the diet. It is generally recommended that fat intake fall between 20 - 35% of total energy intake
Water and hydration levels are critical for maximum performance. Hydration is the most limiting factor involved with physical performance. Hydration plays a critical role in regulating body temperature, carrying nutrients throughout the body and eliminating waste and toxins. Just small amounts of dehydration can greatly affect performance. A 150 lb. athlete with a water loss of just 3 lb. can have reduced performance by 10 - 20% and his effort will feel harder than normal. With a water loss of just 4½ pounds reaction times, judgment, concentration and decision making ability are negatively affected. Temperature regulation and brain function are also impaired. It is recommended that tactical athletes drink half their body weight (lb.) in ounces of water at a minimum, not counting exercise. (Ex. 150 pounds/2 = 75 ounces water per day).