Our resident dietitian, Chris Rauch talks about Sports nutrition. Chris has a young family and when he is not in clinic helping clients achieve their health and fitness goals through nutrition or testing athletes at the Monash University Nutrition and Exercise Clinic, he enjoys Triathlon training and playing beach volleyball.
Sports nutrition plans for athletes
Whether you are aiming to compete in your first 10km fun run or you are looking to achieve a personal best at your next marathon, there are many optimisations that can be made with a sports nutrition plan that is matched to your training goals.
What sort of diet should an athlete aim to follow?
Everyone knows that athletes have higher nutritional needs than your average person – if you burn more energy, you need more fuel. But what is not so well understood is that there is no one ‘diet’ which athletes should follow if they are looking to optimise their performance. Training goals regularly change depending on where the athlete is at in their training. You may be in the pre-season and aiming to build an ‘endurance base’ or you are looking to build some aerobic strength into your training. You may be recovering from an injury and looking to maintain muscle mass whilst avoiding excess weight gain. Or you may be refining your competition strategy, including optimising the timing of training taper and race day tactics. It is therefore important to align your nutrition strategy to support your performance goals.
Protein intake is a vital part of recovery nutrition, to rebuild and repair muscles following your key training sessions. You might be wondering if you are you getting enough protein in? Most athletes usually get an ample quantity of protein in their diet (even without supplementation) but you may not be aware that the total amount of protein that you consume is not as important as the timing and distribution of high biological value protein intake. High quality proteins act like a ‘trigger’ for muscle growth and repair, so understanding how this works is important for optimising this part of the diet, especially during periods of high training loads. Another vital component concerning recovery nutrition is timing of carbohydrate intake. Glycogen is the carbohydrate that is stored in the muscles to fuel contractions. Restoring these levels following key training sessions is important during high training volumes.
In its most basic form, this is the concept of putting the fuel in when required and reducing it when it is not required. In its most sophisticated form, this can be used as a form of ‘metabolic conditioning’ or challenging the body’s ability to burn fat at higher intensities without compromising the ability to burn carbohydrate when the highest intensities are called upon. Such a plan must however be tailored to an athlete’s training program as manipulation of carbohydrate timing is key.
If you are interested to implement any of the above concepts into a personalised Sport Nutrition plan, book in to see me at In Stride Health Clinic. Bring along an outline of your training program, as well as a copy of any recent blood test results / medical reports if applicable. I will tweak your current diet to support your training goals to give you a personalised plan.
Chris is conveniently available for appointments on Saturday mornings and Thursday afternoons and evenings. Bookings can be made by calling the clinic on 9372 8091 or online at www.instridehealthclinc.com.au