Eating for Performance
By: Jodie Willett
As coaches, we encourage all members of Progressive Coaching Systems to diligently fill out their training diaries. Some athletes are better at this than others! It is a very comprehensive document and while your coach reviews all the information, it is as much for your benefit and future reference as it is for ours. Remembering the sessions you have completed during training and the rigors you have put your body through can give you confidence as you approach race day that you are truly prepared. Pinpointing trends in bringing out a great performance is useful, as is finding reasons for a below par performance.
The food diary is one of the least completed sections of the diary but it is a very important indicator of the likelihood of an athlete reaching their potential. People may be concerned that we are ‘tut, tutting’ about the late night chocolates or bucket of chips that ended up being dinner on a busy night. While these will impact you if weight loss is your goal, it is more our concern that these foods are not pushing out other more nutritious foods.
In a recent article published by Peak Performance (Hamilton, A “How to get rid of nutritional mistakes (and boost your performance”) it was revealed that while athletes diets compare favourably to those of sedentary people, many athletes are still making basic errors in nutrition. Common mistakes included insufficient complex carbohydrate intake, excess simple carbohydrate consumption (sugars) and fat intakes above the recommended 30% (of calories consumed) guideline. Of particular concern were the high occurrence of deficiencies in Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and Folic acid.
Below are some of the better sources of important nutrients required to maintain peak condition and good health.
Almonds, chickpeas, dark green vegetables, peanuts
Beef, eggs, pumpkin seeds, whole grain cereals
Red meat, eggs, sardines
Oranges, lemons, kiwi fruit, berries
Milk, yogurt, cheese, green leafy vegetables, bony fish
Salmon, trout, sardines, walnuts, whole grains
Dark leafy greens, potatoes, milk, whole grains
Current recommendations are to consume 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables every day as well as 3 serves of dairy. This is even more important when training your body for competition. Any weight loss plan needs to be gradual (no more than 1kg per week) and focused on reducing the total calorie intake and not excluding certain food groups like carbohydrates which are necessary to athletic performance.
Think of your body as a high performance engine and what foods you need to fuel up and refuel after a hard session. Eat for performance by eating a proper nutrient dense diet with the right foods at the right time.
Contact us at PCS and we can tailor make you an eating plan specific for your caloric and nutritional requirements.