We have been thinking long and hard about writing an article about nutrition for performance. However, we have concluded that diet suited to individuals will vary on a personal level, due to metabolic requirements, different goals, gender, weight and so on. As such, we would highly recommend that athletes talk to a sports nutritionist in order to understand better how to optimise their nutrition for their individual goals.
We also point you to the Olympic Committee’s write up on nutrition for athletes available here. Otherwise, read our thoughts below, but be aware that these may not apply to many athletes out there.
Given all of that, we suggest a few basic principles:
- Cook and eat natural whenever you can. Avoid processed foods, and refined sugars including too much bread, white rice, chocolates, sweets.
- Eat plenty of fruit and veg to get all those important nutrients, but recognise that a lot of fruit can be high in sugar.
- Don’t be afraid of good fat, such as from nuts or avocados (some would argue don’t be afraid of any fat)
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Avoid alcohol whenever you can particularly during periods of intense training.
- Aside from high intensity sessions (and some would even disagree with that), you rarely need energy gels or energy drinks during training. Stick to water, and natural/healthy foods, even in long sessions.
- Dont worry about Carb loading before tests and competition. Just eat normally. Most amateur athletes generally get enough carbs from their usual diet, if not too much!
- Many endurance athletes have developed a great ability to use fat as fuel and many swear by low carb, high fat (LCHF) diets and ketogenic diets. You should explore that space further, but remember adaptation can take a long time.
Staying on top of your nutrition with Wattson Blue
Wattson Blue recognises that nutrition is a vital part of staying healthy and performing, and whilst the definition of a nutritious diet is constantly changing, we hope this article offers some guidelines on how to uphold a balanced and nutritious diet. Use the Wattson Blue app to record how you rate your diet on a daily basis. As you respond to more daily metrics, we will start showing you indicators on how your nutrition affected your well-being and training to enable you to make more informed decisions in the future.
You should not obsess over your diet. If you think your nutrition is affecting your performance or you are trying to lose weight, you should talk to a sports nutritionist.
Remember, we will all have our on and off days when it comes to the quality of our nutrition. As always, don’t let a few off days get you down, try and make long term changes. Use the app and its feedback as motivation to manage your nutrition on the days that really matter, e.g. during periods of intense training, or during recovery weeks in preparation for important events.