Athletes training and racing in extreme weather conditions loose considerable amounts of essential nutrients, minerals and body fluids which may, over time, lead to health concerns. With the right nutrition plan tailored to athletes' needs and requirements, athletes can be supported while working toward their athletic goals.
Over the next few weeks, I will share with you some practical nutrition insight to support you as athletes toward improving your performance and lifestyle goals.
With still some way to go before normality comes back into our lives, we have an opportunity to make the most of our altered lifestyle to introduce small but impactful adjustments that will ultimately help us to perform better. There is no doubt that nutrition is key rebuilding and supporting recovery therefore here are a few tips on how to make a conscious decision about the quality and the quantity of the food we eat.
Prefer calorie intake from whole foods over refined foods. For example, sweet potatoes instead of pasta. Sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable rich in fibre, promoting healthy gut bacteria and high in antioxidants which protect the body from free radicals.
Improve the quality of your food, by eating smaller portions (size of your palm) of high quality protein during each meal such as free range organic eggs, hormone free chicken, grass fed meat, sardines, wild salmon, tempeh or a variety of pulses. Protein is essential for athletes as it plays a critical role in muscle recovery and studies shows that regularly eating high quality protein leads to better absorbing and availability to support muscles recovery, helps maintain lean body mass and support blood sugar and reduces hunger and cravings.
Incorporate some daily mindfulness eating habits to aid digestion and support nutrient absorption. For example, take the time to set the table, prepare a colourful plate, eat slowly and chew food thoroughly. Digestion starts with the smell of the food which triggers a series of enzymatic reactions throughout the digestive tract to digest, extract and absorb nutrients from the food we eat. Supporting digestion daily goes a long way in optimising an athlete’s gut for long endurance events and helps in minimising GI issues.