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Nutrition for Performance

Summer is here and with it for many amateur and aspiring athletes means the return of their beloved sport. Time to knuckle down and start thinking about their eating and drinking habits as well as their physique goals in preparation for the training schedule that is about to commence.

Often the preceding off season has notoriously brought with it an abundance of poor food choices, excessive alcohol consumption and reduced activity and exercise. This presents an overwhelming and often urgent perception to get competition ready.

Unfortunately, this can lead to drastic measures including restrictive food choices and excessive training. The nutritional adequacy of a player’s diet can be significantly reduced during this attempt to ‘get back in shape’. Often including unnecessary and expensive supplements to help speed up the process.

There is a lot of misinformation today that is readily available, whether that be through social media or anecdotal word of mouth which leads people to believe that taking an array of supplements and powders is the short cut way to improve your performance or achieve body composition goals. This has proven to be a multibillion-dollar industry that enables people to make decisions without professional recommendation.

Evidence-based research and sports dietitians alike will tell you that the way to increase your muscle mass and improve your performance is through your EVERYDAY nutrition choices – seven days a week, season to season. There is no CHEAT DAY. Everyday nutrition should not be so restrictive that you feel like you NEED a day to blow out your energy budget and all your hard work training that week. Everyday nutrition does not need to be bland and should involve scheduling foods in that you absolutely LOVE (albeit they may not be that healthy), every so often. Balance is key!

Once you have nailed your everyday nutrition and you are training consistently and adequately for adaptation to occur, then you can have the conversation regarding what sports nutrition and supplements have evidence-based research to support their effectiveness. If you are an amateur athlete looking to compete it is also important to understand which products are Informed Sports/HASTA tested and safe to use. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

These include:

  • Protein Powders (Whey Protein Isolate {including leucine} with as FEW ingredients as possible listed )

  • Sports Gels and Chews

  • Sports drinks

  • Caffeine

  • Nitrate

  • Sodium Bicarbonate

  • Creatine

  • Beta-alanine

So before you go purchase something off the internet and potentially consume something ineffective or dangerous check with an Accredited Sports Dietitian to see how you can incorporate sports nutrition and supplements into your nutrition strategy.

The take home message is no matter what the season or the day of the week, if you have strength or performance goals your everyday nutrition will have the GREATEST impact on your results. Training is only one piece of the puzzle, learning how to utilise your nutrition correctly will complete the picture.


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