Why is Sports Nutrition So Important?
For an athlete, sports nutrition has a major impact on strength, endurance, performance, and recovery. It is estimated that 75% of an athlete’s results in the gym (or on the athletic field) is due to the fuel that an athlete puts into his body, while the other 25% is due to physical training. It’s not how hard athlete trains that make the biggest difference in his performance, but it’s how fast an athlete can recover from his training that counts. Faster an athlete can recover, the harder he can train, and the faster he will blow past his plateaus. Sports nutrition is the #1 recovery tool that every athlete desperately needs, but very few know how to get. Most athletes know how to train properly, but unfortunately very few know the ins and outs of sports nutrition. When an athlete finally gets his sports nutrition dialed for his very own personal biochemical makeup and training, the results can be career-changing (please see our Athletes section for more info) Sports nutrition can make a good athlete great, and a great athlete world class.
After personally working with 100’s of world class athletes over the past 26 years, I have developed a cutting-edge program, based on the most recent science, that will take your training and performance to the next level. With my program, I am confident that you will see more results in the next month in your training than you have seen in the past 4 – 6 months combined. You’ll get leaner, stronger, with greater endurance and recovery and will enable you to will blow past your plateaus. This is not based on hype but on solid science.
Step 1 - Identify Hidden Food Allergies and Sensitivities
For an athlete, discovering hidden food allergies and sensitivities is the key to optimum performance and health. Eating healthy food is one thing, but eating in accordance with your own, unique, genetically determined biochemical makeup, is quite another thing. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Foods and supplements that are compatible with your genetic makeup will speed up recovery, increase strength, endurance, and performance, while consuming hidden food allergies and sensitivities will result in increased inflammation, slow recovery time, poor performance, increased fat gain, poor concentration, poor coordination, fatigue, increase muscle soreness, injuries, and cramps (just to name a few). This may be the #1 Plateau breaker in your training.
Step 2 - Proper Food Intake
First off, it is important to choose the right sources of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that work the best with an athlete’s personal biochemical makeup, while at the same time avoiding hidden food allergies and sensitivities. Secondly, the timing of when to consume a certain food group or supplement plays a major role in performance and recovery as well.
Carbohydrates are the body's main energy source for all types of exercise. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the body, and the amount of glycogen stored affects stamina, endurance, and recovery. When muscle cells run out of glycogen, fatigue sets in and performance will suffer.
Training and eating properly, with attention to consuming the right source of carbohydrates, can increase and maintain glycogen stores, which is important for all athletes, especially endurance athletes. While wheat/gluten the most widely consumed carbohydrates by athletes, wheat/gluten also has one of the highest occurrences of hidden food allergies and sensitivities among athletes, hindering and athlete’s performance and recovery.
The most important time for an athlete to consume carbohydrates is within the first 1 ½ hours post workout. Recommended amount of carbohydrates post workout is .3 to .8 grams of carbohydrates to pound of body weight.
Protein is essential to maintaining, building and repairing muscle tissue. Protein allows muscles to heal faster, gain in size, and increase in strength. Loading up on protein does not guarantee larger muscles or better performance. Protein in excess of the body's needs is stored as fat, and not muscle.
It is important to choose a protein source that is not a hidden food allergy or sensitivity. While whey protein (from dairy) is one most widely used protein supplements, it is also one of the most common hidden food allergies and sensitivities negatively affecting athletes today.
The maximum recommended amounts of protein are 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg of body weight. This requirement can typically be met through food intake alone.
Healthy fat provides energy, helps to lower inflammation and speeds recovery, helps cognitive function, helps circulation, protects the body's organs, and helps with the absorption of some vitamins. When fats are eaten as part of a healthy diet, they provide an important energy source for athletes in training.
Good choices include fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (coconut oil, olive oil, & avocado oil).
Recommendations - athletes should consume at least 20-30% calories from fat.
Not only is consuming the right types of foods extremely important to your athletic performance but drinking the right kind of fluids is also essential for optimum performance.
Staying hydrated with proper electrolytes and carbohydrates enables adequate circulation and nourishment to both your muscles and body. A mere 1% drop in your hydration level will hinder your athletic performance and health.
Signs of dehydration are fatigue, headache, light-headedness, dry mouth and dark-colored urine.
Step 3 - Supplementation
Vitamins and minerals – Because the food we eat nowadays has only 1/5 the nutrients of the food available 50 years ago, it is almost impossible to get all core nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that our bodies require in today’s diet. Because of this everyone and especially athletes should be taking a multivitamin and multimineral to fill in the gaps and to support the body’s most basic and necessary biochemical reactions.
Pre-workout – Specific supplements can be taken pre-workout help to prepare the body and brain for the upcoming workload. Preloading with specific nutrients will help to provide better strength, endurance, power, stamina, coordination, and mental focus during training or the event. Key nutrients include arginine, beetroot, tyrosine, choline, branch chain amino acids, and adaptogens (just to name just a few).
During workout – During training or an athletic event, the main focus is staying hydrated with the right balance of electrolytes with the right source of low glycemic carbs. This will help to provide sustained energy, stamina, endurance, while preventing cramping and dehydration. Unfortunately, water alone doesn’t provide electrolytes and carbs as a fuel source.
Post workout – Probably the most important phase of recovery is post workout. It’s critical for an athlete to consume the right ratio of carbs to protein (3:1) post workout to ensure proper glycogen replenishment and recovery for the next upcoming workout. The preferable way is to drink a shake immediately after training with the proper carb to protein ratio. A shake is easily digested (compared to food) and can immediately start refueling the muscle. An athlete has a 3-hour window to replenish what was lost during the workout (preferably the first 1 ½ hours after workout). After the 3 hours is up, the windows close.
Bedtime – There are natural nutrients that an athlete can take at bedtime to intensify the healing and recovery processes while sleeping. These nutrients can help the athlete reach a deeper sleep, and will help with the release of naturally occurring anabolic hormones that will help the athlete to recover more quickly.
In Summary - By using cutting edge nutrition specifically designed for athletes and for those who train, we can maximize performance and recovery through every stage, helping an athlete break through is plateaus and while preventing injury from over training.
"Everything I do as an athlete, I think about maximizing performance. So anything I put in my body, I think about how’s this going to help me perform at the highest level? And, how’s it going to help me recover the fastest? If you have an allergy to certain types of food and you are putting those into your body, your body is constantly fighting those foods as opposed to repairing muscle and helping you with recovery or performance.