Nutrition: Get Back to Basics
Creating the perfect nutrition plan to meet your needs is just a series of simple steps. The perfect nutrition plan will keep you fuelled, keep you at the weight you need to be at to perform optimally and keep you feeling great at all phases of your training.
If you can ensure that you follow these “10 rules to live by” day in day out, you will build a solid nutrition foundation:
1. Come Back To Earth.
- This simply means choosing the least processed forms of foods (specifically carbohydrates) when building the majority of your meals. Typically, the less processed the foods the closer the food that you are eating is to its natural state, the better it will be for your body.
- The vitamins and minerals that our bodies need come naturally from the foods that we eat, and especially from fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of fruit and veg in a multitude of colours will help to ensure that you are getting the variety of nutrients that you need, resulting in enhanced recovery, improved energy production and immunity.
- Protein is a critical part of the diet for athletes, specifically the type and the amount. When focusing on the type of protein, typically the fewer legs the animal has before you actually consume the protein it produces, the better the source. Fish, turkey and chicken rank high.
- It is recommended that 20 – 30% of the total calories come from fat. The best types of fat to include are raw nuts, nut butter, and fatty fish. The forgotten fats are the essential fatty acids. These fats decrease inflammation but, due to their essential nature, must come from the diet.
- Eating consistently maintains energy levels (blood glucose), keeps the body in a fed state, and prevents mood swings and bingeing. Combining the three main nutrients (carbs, protein and fat) every three hours will prevent extreme hunger, which will make healthier food selection easier.
- Eating breakfast everyday is critical, yet it is an absent habit for many. There are many excuses but breakfast does not have to be complicated or time consuming. Eating breakfast gives the body the fuel it needs and sets your metabolism to function correctly throughout the day.
- Dehydration equals decreased performance. You need to think of hydration in terms of all day not just before you start an activity. Fluids should consist primarily of water and other naturally low caloric beverages, followed by 100% fruit juices, depending upon calorie requirements. The baseline recommended intake of fluids for women is 2.7 litres per day.
- In order to optimise the benefits of a training session and jump start recovery for maximal gains, it is critical to consume a post workout recovery meal that blends both carbohydrate and protein, within 45 minutes after training.
- Supplements should complement the diet and a mentality of “food first, supplement second” should be employed. Those who are not eating the fruits and vegetables we need should consider a multi vitamin. Those who do not get the recommended two to three servings of fatty fish per week should consider supplementing with an essential fatty acid supplement. Those who do not get the calcium they need, especially female athletes, should consider a calcium supplement.
- In a world of convenience, travel and life on the go, we often turn to restaurants, fast food and quick food for our nourishment. The more you prepare you own food, the more you control you will have in the nourishment of your body.