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Sports Dietitian Tips: Back to the Basics of Sports Nutrition Print

Your everyday training diet is as important as performance specific strategies

 

Two athetes outdoors on a running track jumping to give a high fiveAs a Sports Dietitian it is no surprise I spend lots of time talking about sports nutrition for both training benefits and performance. Competitive and recreational athletes put so much effort into their physical training, but many do not see the results they desire because of improper fueling strategies. 

However, performance specific strategies (what to eat before, during and after a workout or competition in addition to considering supplements) are much less effective if your day-to-day nutrition practices are out of whack. 

Let me explain it this way. If you got sick and your doctor got you to take 5 different medications to help you get better, would you really know what medication actually worked for you? No, you wouldn’t. Likely, you would try one medication at a time. 

That is the same approach to take with performance focused nutrition. Taking one step at a time allows us to ensure that we maximize the benefit from each step, before moving on to the next. It may feel like a slower approach, but in the long run, it means you can get more overall benefit from your nutrition strategies. 

 

Performance nutrition has to start with good overall daily nutrition and hydration practices.

 

 

Questions to ask to assess your everyday training diet

 

It may sound overly simple, but here are some initial questions to use as a method of evaluating your current nutrition practices prior to implementing any performance specific nutrition strategies. 

 

1. Do you eat a balanced diet?  This includes the following: 

    • Protein sources such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, legumes, nuts, quinoa, tofu, etc
    • Carbohydrate sources such as rice, pasta, lentils, bread, oats, cereal, potatoes, etc
    • Lots of colorful foods such as fruits and vegetables 
    • Sources of fats such as avocados, fish, oils, butter, nuts, seeds, cheese, nut butter, etc.

 

2. Do you consume some form of protein at all of your meals and most of your snack?

 

3. Do you consume some form of carbohydrate at all of your meals and most of your snacks?

 

4. Do you have good hydration strategies in place?

  • Do you carry a water bottle with you when you go to school/work or travel? 
  • Does the color of your urine stay consistent throughout the day as a pale yellow?
  • Do you have water or fluids with all of your meals and snacks? 
  • Do you drink fluids before, during and after your workouts or training?

 

5. Do you avoid skipping meals and going a long time between eating?

  • Are you eating in a way that prevents you from getting too hungry or way too full?

 

6. Do you eat enough for consistent energy levels? 

  • Do you ever have a hard time focusing on simple tasks? 
  • Do you need naps during the day? 
  • Do you have adequate energy for your workouts as the week goes on? Or do your energy levels plummet later in the week? 

 

Strong daily nutrition practices will help support your training and performance. 

Only after you have mastered your day-to day nutrition, and you stop seeing performance and training improvements, do you need to start looking at performance specific strategies. 

As you might have guessed, the implementation of performance specific nutrition strategies will be methodical in nature as well, ensuring the maximum benefit from methods implemented. 

 

Bonus tips for all athletes: SLEEP! A key factor for performance that should not be underestimated.

 

Looking for more Sports Dietitian advice?

Two athetes outdoors on a running track jumping to give a high fiveWe can help!  Our private one-on-one Sports Dietitian advice will ensure you are getting the best credible advice for everyday nutrition and performance fueling strategies.  Find out more about our Sports Dietitian services here: Athlete Sports Nutrition Counseling.

 

You might also want to check out these previous Sports Nutritionist articles on our blog:

My Top 5 Foods for Hiking Food

How to Keep Lunch Meal Prep Super Simple

Avoiding Diet Talk and Body Bashing

Best Nutrition Apps (That Don’t Track Calories)

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
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I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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