Sports Nutrition and Training Adaptations – How much should you really be eating?
Sports nutrition & training adaptations
We all know that endurance sports generate high nutritional demands… But do you really know what, and how much YOU should be taking on if you want to perform at your best and continue to improve? Many of us would be surprised at the actual nutritional demands we require for our training and performance based on our individual needs.
Why is it so important?
A good training schedule will vary in volume and intensity, so your nutritional intake should match this as well! By doing so, you can ensure that you are optimising the positive effects of nutrition, and make sure that it is helping, and not hindering both your training and performance.
There is lots of contrasting evidence and advice out there about nutrition in sport, so it can be really difficult to know what the best strategy is for you. What you must consider is that we are all significantly different (be it age, gender, weight, height, fitness or goals) and therefore what nutrition you require, will significantly differ to the person sat next to you while you read this.
Many of us invest heavily in equipment that can benefit our performance, but if core aspects such as training and nutrition aren’t tailored to meet our needs and goals, are they really having the desired effect?
Tailored & optimal nutrition means more than just eating healthy, it involves looking at when, why, how and what we eat. By adopting a tailored and periodised nutrition strategy you can begin to really optimise the way in which you fuel your body, and also support it in recovery. The results can be significant to performance, as well as things you wouldn’t even think about, such as sleep quality, mood, illness and injury!
Improving performance through nutrition?
So how can you achieve these benefits through tailoring your diet? Some will take care of themselves. For example, understanding your nutritional requirements (and eating to them!) will help you reach your body comp goals.
But nutrition offers much more than these obvious benefits and this is where science really comes into play and we go beyond the simplistic approaches of what to eat before and during a race. We are able to look at long-term strategies and nutritional interventions that can be used as a component of your training to actually achieve beneficial changes within your body – ultimately leading to greater power, speed, endurance and performance.
As previously mentioned, energy demands in endurance sport can be huge and often beyond what you would imagine and what is physically possible to consume through food alone. Fuelling yourself properly therefore needs to be appropriately tailored to your own individual needs, and planned in advance. Doing so offers the chance to optimise your training, recovery and overall performance. As previously mentioned, a large proportion of endurance athletes spend large amounts on equipment and training guides, yet can still fail to pay the necessary attention to something as important as their overall diet and as a result, fail to make significant progress towards
So have a think about it – put plans in place – and don’t neglect your nutritional needs when it comes to training and performing! Knowledge is power…
Ps. We saw you looking at the person sat next to you earlier on… don’t think we didn’t!
Nb. Professional guidance
Nutritional requirements are never static, so knowing what to eat and when to eat it can be confusing, however beneficial. Nutrition advice should always be sought from appropriately qualified personnel. If seeking guidance then it is always advised to do so through registered dietitians and qualified sports nutritionists who used scientific knowledge and evidenced based research to guide their practice.
Author Robbie Green