You Gotta Nourish to Flourish
Athletes and active people expect more of their bodies (than ordinary mortals). Meeting these expectation requires dedication to training, adequate rest and recovery, and proper nutrition and hydration.
Too often I see people spend hours upon hours training for an event, then on race day have no real plan for how they intend to fuel themselves for the event.
Would you show up to a running race in sandals and put on the first pair of shoes you find lying around? Never! Winging it with nutrition is leaving your performance to chance.
Think about the past year and any races or events that you took part in. How did you feel before, during and at the finish?
If you experienced nausea, GI upset, cramping, fluctuations in your energy level, or even running completely out of energy (also called ‘bonking’), fuelling better can help you avoid these issues.
If you didn’t feel as strong as you wanted to despite all of your training, fuelling better can help you feel better and finish stronger.
Even if you felt pretty good during your events but are looking to take your performance up a notch, fuelling better can help you reach your potential.
When is the Best Time to Focus on Nutrition?
Though it is always a good time to increase your awareness of how your food and fluid choices make you feel, there are some ideal times to focus on nutrition and hydration for sport that can have the greatest impact on your future training and performance.
The shoulder or off-season is one of the best times to focus on nutrition. Why? You have the benefit of time to reflect, make changes, and try out new strategies that will help you fuel or feel your best during training and on race day. Experimenting with a new energy bar during your first Fondo or marathon can result in an unwanted detours...like running to the bathroom.
Another great time to focus on nutrition is at the start of training for a new event or distance for your sport. In the same way it takes time to train your body, your digestive tract needs time to adjust and tolerate the nutrition your body needs to perform your best.
Finally, if you’ve made the decision to adopt a new eating pattern (e.g. plant-based or lower carb) that changes the foods you will fuel your body with during training and recovery, it’s ideal to focus on nutrition during this transition and long before your next race or event.
Why Work With a Registered Dietitian?
Nutrition is a science, not an opinion. It is extremely personal and based on factors such as your goals, health history, relationship with food, knowledge, beliefs, values, preferences and budget (among many other factors). The strategies that your friends and competitors use for fuelling may not work for your individual needs. Registered Dietitians are nutrition professionals who specialize in food, nutrition, and the important role that it plays in optimizing health and performance as well as preventing and managing disease.
If you want expert advice on how to fuel well and feel even better, a Registered Dietitian is the gold standard.