PERFORMANCE NUTRITION

Every person on this planet is not the same, therefore nutritional intake isn't just black and white across the board.  Macro and micro nutrient consumption varies depending on your goals, your medical history and current state of health, your current activity level, your type of activity, the demographics of where you live, and more.  All of these factors play a role in what your nutritional intake should be to reach optimal levels of health and attain your goals.  However, there is a guideline in which you can choose what foods are good for you and what foods are not.  This is what we call paleo nutrition, or The Paleo Diet.

This section is going to focus on food intake from the perspective of an athlete.  Jenny's goal is to be the best athlete she can be and a huge part of this success comes from how she fuels her body.  Peformance nutition focuses on recovery between training sessions, energy during workouts and overall health to keep the athlete being able to perform at a high level.  Here is a bit more insight to how Jenny chooses to fuel her body for success.

 

OVERVIEW

  • Food is a huge part of our society.  Holidays, social gatherings, work meetings, etc all focus around food.  How many of us actually think about what we are putting in our body, the timing of consumption and what its purpose is?  I'm not saying that you need to weigh and measure every bit of food that enters your stomach…in fact I never have done that for myself and rarely recommend that…but I am saying that the food we consume should have a purpose.  For everyone, but especially as performance athletes, we must realize that food is our fuel.  The energy we need for workouts, but more importantly for recovery, starts with what goes in our mouth.
  • You will see that I strongly promote The Paleo Diet as a way of eating.  As a performance athlete that doesn't change, but a bit of modification is necessary in order to meet the demands placed on the body. The information below is to help guide you on what to eat, when to eat it and roughly how much of it you should be eating to optimize your performance and recovery.

 

CLEAN EATING:

  • From the get go you have to be taking in good food.  There is NO supplementation for a strong foundation, without it you are just supplementing junk.  It's like trying to fill a bucket full of water that has a hole in it.  You can continue to dump as much water in as you possible can, but it will never remain full because there is a leak.
  • What is clean eating?  Eat meats and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starches (selective few), and no sugar.  Staying in these parameters the foods you do choose will be nutrient dense.

 

Here's a brief overview of macronutrients for athletes.

Protein:

-Required for maintaining and building lean body mass.

-1g/1lb of lean body mass

-Sources: Meat and Eggs

 

Carbohydrates:

-Primary source of fuel - glucose.

-Great opportunity to take in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

-Vegetables - low, medium, high starch, and green leafy

-1-2g/1lb of lean body mass

-Asparagus (4g), Sweet Potato (20-25g), Apple (21g), 1 cup Spinach (1g), 1 cup of grains (40g)

 

Fats:

-Can be a fuel source, but big need for it is hormone synthesis

-Cooking oils (liquids), fats (solids) - meat, fish, fruit, and veggies

-~1.5g/1lb (maintenance) or ~2g/1lb (gaining weight)

- Nuts/Seeds (15g/oz), Avocado (30g), Cooking Oils (15g/Tbsp)

 

Supplements:

- Fish Oil: Amount dependent on person's state, but in general 2-4g of EPA/DHA per day for a healthy, clean eating individual.  As an athlete you may have to tinker with this and see what you feel best with.  On days where workouts are harder and inflammation could be higher, go for the upper end of the scale and vice versa on less intense days.  Here is a good link on Omega 3 Facts from Pure Pharma.

- Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's): Necessary for making protein and stimulating muscle production.  Allows for faster recovery.  20-40g/day

- Greens Supplement: Increases micronutrient intake.  Alkalizes the body and reduce inflammation.

- Probiotics: Natural Sources - kraut and kimchi. Brands for Pills and Powders - Jarrow and New Chapter

- Digestive Enzymes: Now Foods Superenzyme, Wobenzyme, Braod-spectrum Digestive Enzyme.

- Protein Powders: Real food is best in my opinion, but make sure you chew it up adequately so it will digest better.  Think "drink your food, chew your water".   If you can't stomach real food after a workout then exploring protein powders is an option.  Whey is from dairy so I would suggest no, but use your personal discretion on this one.  Egg white powder is really the only other one I have tried and agree with.

 

 

TRAINING NUTRITION:

  •  As an athlete the bulk of your time is spent training, so the bulk of your calories should be post workout.

Two Major Workout Categories

      1.   Central Nervous System (CNS) Intenstive:

- Taxes brain and neuro-muscular efficiency

- Olympic lifting sessions, 1RM/3RM Testing, 8x2-3reps Squats

      2.   Cellular Intensive

- Stresses muscles

- Aerobic/lactic, metablic conditioning, high volume lifting

 

Fueling for CNS Training:

- Balanced meal 2-4 hours before workout

- BCAA's: half before your workout and half during and after workout

- Balanced meal 30-60 min post workout

 

Fueling for Cellular Intensive Training:

-  Pre-workout many athletes feel better in a slightly fasted state because blood/oxygen can go to extremities rather than to stomach for digestion.  Note: this is a subjective matter and you must decide what your optimal "fasted" state is.

- Priority is restoring liver and muscle glycogen. 

           4:1 Sweet Potato:Applesauce

- Secondary is stimulating muscle production.

           Protein, BCAA's

 

 

HYDRATE:

  • We always hear "drink water", "stay hydrated", "pee clear".  Well, it's true.  Dehydration can be one of the worst, yet most common reasons for fatigue and decline in performance.  Also, the nutrients we consume like water…that's how our GI tract absorbs them.  Make your GI tract a river, not a mudpit!
  • How much water do I need to consume?  It varies from person to person, but on average drinking½ ounce/1pound of body weighteach day is recommended.  On top of that you have to take your sweat factor into account.  Weigh yourself before you workout (naked if possible) and then weigh yourself immediately after your workout (naked again).  Keep track of the amount of water you consume during your workout. Subtract the amount of water you drank from the difference in body weight from the start of the workout to the end.  That is how many ounces you must consume to make up for the water lost through sweating.
  • Eating a Paleo diet there are studies that show athletes can become low on electrolytes.  That doesn't mean go chug a Gatorade!  That stuff is full of sugar!  What it does mean is don't be afraid to add a bit of sea salt to your food and definitely get a hydration tablet (full of electrolytes) to add to your water during/after workouts.

 

 

SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP and SLEEP SOME MORE:

  • When we are training we are getting weaker, we are beating our bodies up.  Recovery from the workouts is where we get stronger.  This is when adaptation occurs!

Good Sleep Habits:

- 8-9 hours of sleep minimum

- No computer 2 hrs before bed (inhibits melatonin production and circadian cycles)

- No TV 1 hr before bed

- No blinking lights (computers, phones, clocks, fire alarms, etc)

- No outside light (get blackout curtains)

- Cool room temperature

- Method for waking (Verilux)

  • Food for thought…If you don't have your sleep on track, then your body won't be working properly to break down food and use it for productive fuel.  If you don't have your nutrition in check then your body won't have the proper gas to run it's engine efficiently and at optimal power.  Moral of the story, get your sleep dialed in and properly fuel your body for what you're demanding of it and the results will come.