Sports nutrition is refreshingly simple.
This is a brilliant podcast (from 17 Aug 2013) that talks about the role of food in athletic performance and what’s best to eat before and after exercise, and how soon before and after.
It highlights the fact that sports nutrition isn’t a mystery, it can go about its business superbly well without the aid of any supplements, even at the highest level. In my view people start getting it wrong when they start messing about with nature and trying to enhance performance with faddish strategies and products. Just feed the body the right real food at the right time in the right amount and that’s basically it.
I liked these words from a sports scientist on the podcast:
“At every stage food is affecting our ability to perform, our ability to recover and our ability to adapt” and “There is no need for fancy sports nutrition products”
It also talks about the importance of pre-fuelling to brain function; the brain is a pure sugar burner so if you go into a session with low blood sugar your skills will be affected. For instance, your ability to drive speed through your legs essentially comes from the neuromuscular pathways from brain to muscle. If the brain is empty of fuel it won’t perform at its best, and neither will you. That’s why morning fasted training is not ideal for speedwork or anything where you need your wits about you for safety reasons, like swimming or road cycling.
The importance of body fat percentage is covered too, and how the optimum level varies between sports, e.g. runners and cyclists perform better with lower levels of body fat than, say, rugby players or sumo wrestlers. All fitnaturally’s athletes (and everyday nutrition clients) measure body fat regularly. It’s a good habit to get into and tells us far more about body composition than weight alone.
Keep it simple, keep it natural and keep it relevant, you have enough to juggle with with your training!