In working with athletes, I am never surprised how many athletes struggle to meet daily energy needs. Not only is it tough to be an athlete but it's tough to eat like an athlete!
-Training load (volume, frequency, intensity)
-Lack of appetite
-Little time to eat
-Poor meal planning/prep
-Environmental stress (heat/cold)
-Dietary trends/body image concerns
-Timing of food
-Influence of professionals/other athletes/social media
-Availability/convenience of food/drinks
As an athlete, your active lifestyle is quite extreme and because of that, it is important that you understand why nutrition is so critical to helping you achieve success in your sport and why you need to make the effort, every day, to stay on top of your daily and sport nutrition needs.
As an athlete, you need an opportunity, an appetite, awareness, knowledge and availability to consume adequate nutrients and fluids in recommended amounts to meet your daily energy needs, which is dependent on your training load.
As an athlete, you must spend more time than other people to strategically plan your meals and your snacks and to also time your nutrition around workouts. So in your already busy life, yes, you still need to make YOUR eating a priority.
As an athlete, with the racing season quickly approaching (or you may already be in it), I strongly encourage you to not overlook how critical and extremely necessary it is focus on your food consumption and nutrient quality throughout the day. Busy schedules, lack of planning and intentional undereating will negatively affect training so do yourself a favor and make nutrition a key component to your active lifestyle.
As an athlete, there are no magic bullets or secret nutrition tips to boosting performance. Consistent training, proper fueling/hydration, planning ahead and understanding what works best for you will help you get to that next level.
Here are a few simple nutrition guidelines to help you achieve athletic excellence:
- Plan your day of eating before it happens. Plan out your nutrition before/during/after workouts, 3 meals and a satisfying snack between your meals.
- For every workout, don't just show up. Have a plan for hydration and fueling before/during/after all workouts.
- If you have an off day or a bad workout, underfueling or overexercising will not make things better. Just move on with the methods that are working for you so that you can stay consistent with training.
- If you have a bad workout and you feel like your methods are no longer working for you, reach out to a Board Certified Sport Dietitian for help.
- Don't be afraid to focus on (and eat for) your own nutrition needs when eating with family, friends and co-workers.
- Plan ahead! You must shop and prepare food before a hectic day happens.
- Plan ahead! You must prepare your pre and post snacks/meals before fatigue/tiredness/business sets in.
- Sport nutrition products not only help you perform high quality training sessions and keep your body in good health but they bring confidence for race day application.
- Always consider how your environment and terrain will affect how you fuel/hydrate before, during and after workouts.