At the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018, Japan won 13 medals, nearly double the achievement of 8 medals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The country also achieved 25 medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 38 medals in London in 2012 and 41 medals in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
In addition to the athletic efforts of the athletes, the diet and special menu contributed significantly to this achievement. Japan has invested in this issue quite thoroughly, notably Ajinomoto Group cooperating with sports organizations to implement the Victory project, supporting the Japanese national team as well as individual athletes. about nutrition.
According to the project, athletes often encounter two major problems with the diet: inadequate diet and nutrient balance. During competition abroad, when they have to eat unfamiliar dishes, plus stressful schedules, they are easily distracted by eating habits, leading to the risk of affecting performance. Some athletes also suffer from anorexia due to psychological disturbance during competition.
In addition, Ajinomoto’s Victory project also emphasizes the important role of amino acids in athlete health. Intensive training sessions and exercises always deplete amino acids in muscle tissue, leading to muscle fatigue and muscle tissue damage. Therefore, athletes need to consume some essential amino acids through the diet.
To confirm this, Ajinomoto Corporation and the University of Tokyo collaborated to study the relationship between amino acids and athletic performance. They gathered 2 groups of athletes, for intense physical training sessions at the university. In particular, one group was provided with amino acids, the other group did not. Observed, the recovery time between the two groups is significantly different. After 2 days of training, the amino acid group completely recovered their muscular strength, while the other group showed signs of decreasing muscle strength in the same amount of time.
From that conclusion, during the competition phase, the Victory Project provided each athlete with a “nutrition plan,” with a pocket guide indicating what they should eat and how much to eat first, during, and after the competition. Athletes can check the composition of each meal, thereby better understanding the nutritional efficiency as well as the time to digest amino acids.
After being deployed since 2003, the results are quite convincing, 7 out of 10 karate athletes provided with optimal nutrition and amino acids won medals at the international karate arena in 2018.