After doing nutrition consultations with many elite athletes I have found that instead of focusing on carbs, protein powder and sports supplements, first you need to get the basics right. I have lost count of how many top level athletes were not even doing some of the things listed below…
1. Get back to nature – eat the least processed forms of all foods, particularly carbohydrates. Therefore eat meat, fish seafood and poultry; fruit and vegetables; nuts and seeds and some whole grains, legumes and pulses.
2. Eat a rainbow – mainly fruits and vegetables – greens, reds, yellows, whites, oranges and purples.
3. Eat foods with eyes, this will provide protein and essentials fats, the fewer the legs the better – fish, chicken, beef, lamb and pork for example.
4. Eat your fats – fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, oils and butter.
5. Eat breakfast everyday – it’s a must! It stabilises your blood sugar throughout the day and ensures good energy levels.
6. 3 times 3 times 3 – 3 meals and 3 snacks a day all containing the 3 essential macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and essentials fats.
7. Eat as much organic food as you can afford, it has less toxins and a higher nutrient density.
8. Rely on whole foods for your nutrients. Protein shakes, sports drinks and supplements should be used in addition to this not instead of this.
9. Hydration – 2% dehydration leads to decreased strength, speed and cognitive function. Drink 0.04l per kg of body weight. Add some electrolytes to plain water to ensure absorption.
10. Supplements are supplemental to a healthy diet so get the diet right first. Use fish oils, multivitamins and antioxidants as a starting point.
Get the basics right first before you think about sports nutrition.