CHAPTER IX
DIET AND HEALTH OF THE COMPETITIVE PISTOL SHOOTER

A. GENERAL.

What is meant by good nutrition? Gayelord Hauser, America’s famed Diet and Health specialist, answers as follows: “First, it is adequate nutrition, giving the individual cells of the body not only the quantity but also the quality of nourishment they require. Second, balanced nutrition, supplying the body cells with vital nutrients in the proper proportion. As a simplified illustration, think of your body as a motor car. It is made of protein, inside and out. Arteries, glands, colon, connective tissue; muscles, skin, bones, hair, teeth, eyes: all contain protein and are maintained and rebuilt with protein. Fats and carbohydrates are your body’s oil and gasoline, they are burned together to produce energy. Vitamins and minerals are its spark plugs, essential to the utilization of food and its assimilation into the blood stream. It is a marvelously sturdy motor car, this body of yours - marvelous in its ability to maintain and rebuild itself. Given care, consideration, and respect, it will function smoothly. Neglected or abused and it will break down. Scientists are unanimous in agreeing that over-nutrition, through excess calories stored as fat, can contribute materially to physical deterioration. ”

B. THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER DIET AND NUTRITION TO COMPETITIVE SHOOTERS.

The army trains men to be winners. Winners in combat and winners in any competitive activity. If the pistol competitor falters, his energy exhausted, it must not be because of a diet deficient in essential nutrients.

Proper nutrition will assure strength and endurance to perform your job well. Your job is to shoot championship scores in every match fired all day long, not just the first match or two of the day.

The expert marksman must feel well and be energetic to shoot well. No stone can be left unturned in today’s level of competition that will provide that important “edge” that may be the narrow margin of victory.

Good nutrition is based on a diet that includes all the essential nutrients. These nutrients are found in a wide range of foods.

C. THE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS.

The essential nutrients are Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, and protective ingredients or Vitamins.

1. Proteins are the body’s building blocks. As the house builder uses various building materials to construct a house, proteins build and replace the body’s tissue of muscle, nerves, tendons and all of the vital organs, etc. This is done in the form of amino acids. For instance, the lining of the gastrointestinal tract is renewed every three days.

2. The protein built body must have fuel to consume as it moves about and also take care of the energy demands of the vital body functions. The body maintains a reserve of energy by converting fats to glucose and storing it in the liver.

Fats and fatty acids are the long range source of energy. The fat in the diet provides the full gas tank reserve for endurance. Part of the fatty acids are converted to easily digested sugar forms that are stored in the liver. The fatty acids that are not held in reserve in the liver provide for part of the present energy needs of the body or they are deposited in and about the muscular system. The complete absence of fat in the diet means slow starvation even if the other nutrients are ample.

3. There is another source of energy but a smaller portion of the amount eaten goes into the ready reserve.

Carbohydrates are the high octane energy source. Compare fats and carbohydrates to the relative combustion qualities of oil and gasoline respectively. Both will burn but gasoline is ignited easier and burns quicker. Starches and basic sugars are converted into a more readily useable glucose at a relatively faster rate than fats. In this form, they are absorbed by the blood system and supplied to the muscular tissue to furnish needed energy.

For example: Alcohol, a starch food, can pass through the entire gastrointestinal tract without being altered in any way and yet be absorbed readily. There is no question about the energetic effect it has on some people.

4. Vitamins aid the breakdown of nutrients into usable forms. Protective ingredients or vitamins are not considered to be a food but they are essential to proper nutrition. Vitamins are a means of triggering the chemical reactions that convert the essential nutrients into useable forms in the digestive process. For example, the automobile carburetor converts gasoline from a liquid into a more usable form of a vapor of gasoline molecules mixed with a large proportion of air.

D. TYPES OF FOOD THAT SUPPLY NEEDED NUTRITION.

The pistol shooter can be assured of receiving the important elements of nutrition in his diet if certain representative foods of each type are known to him.

1. There are three foods that are the main source of protein in the diet.

Proteins are mainly supplied by eggs, meat and milk. A shooter of 140 pounds should consume 100-120 grams of protein in his daily diet. Approximately one half should come from the animal source foods; eggs, meat and milk. The remaining amount can be obtained from the usual sources of bread and vegetables.

2. The same basic foods provide a source for another essential nutrient, fat.

Fats or fatty acids are obtained from animal fats and vegetable oils. The average shooter consumes too much fat. While in training, a 140 pound man should consume 70 to 90 grams of fat tally. Half of this amount should come from animal sources such as eggs, meat and milk. The remainder should come from vegetable oil sources such as peanuts, corn, soya and olives. Moderation in the use of fats is especially beneficial to the digestive process.

3. There are two main sources of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates in the form of starches and sugar are contained in nearly all foods. It is important to give preference to such starch and sugar sources such as dark bread, fresh fruit, unpolished rice, milk, oatmeal, fresh vegetables and potatoes with the jackets on, because of the high content of protective ingredients or vitamins. Stay away from that enormous birthday cake with its gleaming white icing!

E, VITAMINS.

1. Protective ingredients or vitamins are found in most foods. In addition the human body manufactures some vitamins but usually in amounts too small to meet its needs. Some vitamins cannot be stored in the body and must be replenished daily. Vitamin pills which contain a minimum adult requirement of most identifiable vitamins should be taken only on the advice of a doctor. Your diet may be furnishing all the vitamins you need.

2. The best source of vitamins are foods in which they are naturally present. Of special importance to the shooter are the following vitamins and sources:

a. Vitamin A; is found in carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, milk, liver, egg yolk and green and yellow vegetables. This vitamin builds resistance to the infection and helps the eyes to function normally in light of varying intensity. This feature is an aid in night vision. Vitamin A prevents and cures pellagra, a disease of the eyes and skin.

b. Vitamin B1; found in yeast, most meats, especially beef and pork, whole grain cereals, beans, peas, nuts and green vegetables. A deficiency of this vitamin causes great and persistent fatigue, aching leg muscles and bones and illness of the nervous system. Vitamin B1, prevents and cures beriberi, primarily a disease of the nervous system. Chronic alcoholics sometimes develop symptoms of the disease because alcohol diminishes the appetite and they fail to receive proper nourishment.

c. Vitamin C; the body does not store this vitamin and it must be replenished daily. It is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, raw cabbage, strawberries and cantaloupe. Vitamin C promotes a healthy circulatory system, which is important to body energy; develops good sound bones, and teeth. This vitamin prevents and cures scurvy, a disease known by general listlessness and fatigue; sore, inflamed gums and various other dental disorders.

d. Vitamin D; is a fat soluble vitamin that prevents rickets. It becomes active when exposed to ultraviolet rays. Two variations of this vitamin are important in nutrition. One is vitamin D supplied by plants. The other, vitamin D3, is found in fish-liver oils, irradiated milk, and in all irradiated animals proteins. Scientists believe that vitamin D3 forms in the skin when the body is exposed to sunlight. Because of this it has been called the “sunshine vitamin. ” Doctors have found that lack of vitamin D leads to serious bone changes. However, they have found that excessive amounts also cause serious bone changes.

e. Vitamin E; is a fat-soluble substance that scientists believe may be necessary for reproduction. All the functions of this vitamin are not known. The best sources of Vitamin E are wheat-germ oil and lettuce. Whole-grain cereals, meat, milk, eggs, liver, and most Vegetables also contain it.

f. Vitamin K includes a group of fat-soluble vitamins that are essential for making the blood clot. These vitamins are rather abundant in food. They are found particularly in the green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. Pork liver is also an excellent source. Intestinal bacteria manufacture vitamin K in the body. Therefore, deficiencies of this vitamin are rarely the result of poor diet. But deficiencies can result when something interferes with the normal function of the intestinal tract.

g. Certain minerals, including iron, copper, sulfur, calcium, phosphorus, iodine, and sodium, are needed for growth and to maintain tissues and regulate body functions.

E. YOU MUST HAVE STAMINA AND READY ENERGY TO BE A CHAMPION.

The lack of forceful energy to carry on under a prolonged condition of stress can be corrected to a degree by proper, balanced nutrition. You must select the various types of food that provide this needed energy.

A strong, well nourished body will allow sustained physical and mental effort under the stress of competitive shooting.

Last years beginner can become the champion this year if he learns to eat the foods that will supply him with the stamina to keep up the fight, regardless of the odds against his winning the match.

EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL, COFFEE, TOBACCO AND DRUGS