The Importance of Sport Nutrition
You are what you eat is an old adage about the importance that diet plays in your health. The premise is simple, in order to stay healthy and have lots of energy, you should you eat a nutrient dense diet with enough calories to sustain your activities. Unfortunately, our nutritional requirements can be a little more complicated, especially when it comes to athletic performance. There is no shortage of opinions on what the ideal diet for athletes should be. There are advocates for high protein diets, high carbohydrate diets, vegan diets, ketogenic diets, and a multitude of others. However, without proper guidance, these types of diets can fail to meet the needs of athletes. Consequently, your nutritional status has the potential to improve or impede performance.
Importance of Dietary Planning for Athletes
Regardless of the type of diet, there are three important factors to planning a proper diet for performance:
- Nutrient Dense – Does your diet include enough vitamins and minerals?
- Macronutrients – Does your diet contain enough protein, carbohydrates and fats?
- Fuel – Are there enough calories to meet your training goals?
Nutritional Periodization for Athletes
Nutritional periodization is the systematic planning of an athlete’s diet to support athletic or physical training. The aim is to provide the nutrients in order to achieve the best possible performance in the most important competition of the year. It involves prescribing a diet that adapts to support the various aspects of a training cycle over a specific period. Therefore, athletes will have different dietary needs if their goal is to:
- Increase strength or build lean muscle mass
- Train through a high intensity or high-volume period
- Achieve or maintain competition weight
- Recover from a workout
- Travel to competitions
Nutritional Periodization with Dr. Halldorson
I work with athletes and their coaches to ensure that their diets meet the dietary needs to meet their athletic goals. Due to my experience as a competitive biathlete and cross-country skiing/biathlon coach, it is evident that diet can make a big difference in athletic performance. There is no universal diet that will work for each athlete, hence, I work with individual athletes to develop a plan that helps them meet their goals. I also work to improve digestion with each athlete in order to ensure that they are able to digest and absorb what they eat. Whether the goal is to train for a marathon, increase muscle mass or taper for a big competition, I work to ensure that athletes are fuelled up and ready to perform on demand!