11 Jul Sports Nutrition | Interview with Near FM
As a sports fan, runner, indoor cycling instructor, and nutritionist, I am never happier than when chatting about Sports Nutrition. My personal and professional focus leans towards endurance. I love researching about how the body can go for hours and hours, utilising physiology and psychology, pulling in all the resources available to achieve great things.
Last week, I was interviewed by Vivien Matthias at Near FM to talk about fuelling the body for exercise. We talked for nearly an hour about what are the most important things to consider when preparing for exercise, including carbohydrate intake, protein timing, and general nutrition.
Have a listen here.
It’s not always possible to be as succinct and sound-bitey as you wish when on the spot, but I really enjoyed having the chats with her. Here are some of the most important points one must consider when thinking about sports nutrition.
- Adaptation is the key to training; you want to get stronger, faster, and go further. This is done with sound nutrition from morning to night, Monday to Sunday, Month to Month. It shouldn’t be outsourced to other people (i.e. consistently not preparing your own food), nor should it come second place to a bunch of supplements and meal-replacements.
- Where possible, and practical, eat real food. Eat food in it’s most natural state, cooked simply, and prepared by yourself. This will increase your overall health and wellbeing, while reducing your need for supplements or synthetic foods.
- Don’t drink your calories. Alcohol, soft drinks and big milky coffees impede your body composition goals because they allow for fast calories with little sustenance or satiety.
- Hydration is essential to exercise. Dehydration causes immense physiological stress, slows the body down, and is one of the biggest factors to underperforming in sport. Your time to exhaustion will be extended if you’re well hydrated. Don’t overdo it though. Hyper-hydration is dangerous. Work out the demands of your sport, and plan accordingly.
- The body needs an adequate supply of carbohydrate if you are an endurance athlete. Muscle and liver glycogen must be maintained to improve distances, times, and time to exhaustion. It must be built up prior to effort, and replaced following effort. Carbohydrate is also the shuttle by which protein reaches the cells, so if you’re exercising and pushing your body in the gym or out on the road, you can’t afford to eat very low carb. It will stall your performance.
- Protein is an essential component to muscle recovery and exercise adaptation. Quantity, Quality, and Timing are the 3 factors to consider. In general, and as always everyone is different, but in general, aim for 0.3g/kg (quantity), every 3-4 hours (timing), of good quality whole food sources of protein i.e. eggs, lean meat, fish, legumes (quality).
- Depending on your body composition goals, or the demands of your sport, you will need to adapt your nutrition strategy accordingly e.g. increasing calories to build muscle, maintaining a caloric deficit to shed fat, increasing carbohydrate for glycogen restoration, reducing carbohydrate to promote fat oxidation, increasing/maintaining protein for muscle repair and adaptation.
- Supplementation is not always warranted. Don’t do it just because you think you should do it. If you’re spending significant money on sports supplements, research why and if it’s necessary for you.
- Be kind to yourself while you’re going through this process of change. It takes a long time to change body composition, and to build fitness. It’s a process and needs a lot of self-compassion alongside that drive and fire that is pushing you to do it in the first place.
I offer consultations on sports nutrition, particularly to endurance-based athletes, but also to people looking to change their body composition. If you are just starting out, or trying to break through a plateau, and you wish to get advice on how to adapt your nutrition to your training, how to burn fat more effectively through diet and exercise, or how to help yourself get closer to a PB in running or cycling, get in touch here.