Sports nutrition is as much to do with overall health as it is to do with the diet immediately before and after training and competition. Getting your diet right day-to-day will reduce your risk of illness and injury and hopefully help you get back on track faster if you do come down with something. Those involved in heavy training appear to be more susceptible to infections than the general population but with most types of exercise there is a period of immunosuppression that follows. It is therefore important to ensure that you are getting the correct balance of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients to keep your immune system in good working order.
Performance is affected by a variety of conditions, stemming from your genes. Training, in terms of frequency, duration and intensity, obviously has a significant impact on performance and it is in turn affected by cardiovascular and respiratory limitations. Performance is also affected by body size and composition, in which nutrition plays a big role (as well as heredity). What you eat with also affect all aspects of training so, in the wider picture, nutrition plays a small but significant role when you are aiming to perform at your best.
In the wise words of Sports Dieticians Australia, “a good diet will not turn a mediocre athlete into a champion, but poor food choices can turn a champion into a mediocre athlete”
Some principals of sports nutrition that I harp on about, especially to young athletes, are:
- meeting energy requirements
- supporting recovery
- making informed choices on supplements
- reducing risk of illness and injury
Please check out some of my blog posts on sports nutrition or have a browse around the tabs for more information