There are a few common mistakes that we see across sports nutrition. These often come about due to myths or misinterpretation. Over the coming months we will be adding to the list, so if you have any suggestions – let us know in the comments! We try to provide clarity and non-bias information to ensure you get the best out of your training.
Due to strenuous training schedules, it is likely you will require more protein. Protein provides so much more than repairing your muscle tissue after exercising it is fundamental for your enzyme activity, transport proteins, cellular tissue, hormones and skeletal muscle.
We hear lots about protein at the moment but it's really important to get the correct amount of protein in, and from the correct food sources to maximise you’re training potential.
This means getting protein from a range of different foods and supplementing when needing a boost so that it can provide you with all the essential amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks of protein) for optimal health, recovery, muscle function and neurological well-being.
It is important that you get a minimum of 1 g of protein per kg of body weight, with optimal levels reported to be between 1.2 and 1.6g per kg of body weight. See our protein calculator here.
We all get caught up on the calorie conundrum. A calorie is not a nutrient but purely a unit of energy. Not all nutrients are created equally’ all have differing roles and actions in the body.
For example, 100 g of chips is very different to 100g of broccoli. Neither are bad, but one is richer in fibre, vitamin and minerals (broccoli) and the other (chips) will have a higher calorie content but void of beneficial nutrients; they only become negative when consumed too often as they both have their own attributes, but the key is placement with frequency of consumption.
Many youth athletes and young adults get fixated on calorie intake and this can lead to calorie restriction. As fats have a higher calorie content (than proteins and carbohydrates) they often get removed from the daily diet in the belief that they are going to help change their body weight.
However, fats are absolutely essential for cellular and hormonal processes- which without the metabolism, and neurological well-being cannot occur. Therefore, if you're looking to change your body composition is really important to ensure a balance of macro and micronutrients are consumed, with a few treats added over the week. For more information read the nutritional needs of youth athletes.
Another fundamental mistake is poor recovery nutrition. Hinting on above point regarding protein - it's really important that you get in enough protein in to meet your bodies needs. But also, this means getting enough for carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores.
Carbohydrates get converted into the body into sugars which the body can use immediately (perfect for training). The carbs that are not used immediately can be stored into the muscle tissue as glycogen.
Of course, too much of this will be stored as body fat but if you're training hard you'll need to replenish glycogen stores daily and it takes about 24 hours to replenish to completely. Glycogen also helps preserve muscle tissue as it ensures that the body is using carbohydrates energy, and not breaking down protein for energy.
If you cannot get this from whole foods post-exercise/training, then you could explore a high-protein fast-acting supplement designed for youth athletes like NUTRI-TEEN which provides your body with the exact balance of protein, carbs and fat along with micronutrients for optimal recovery.
It's really hard not to get caught up by what other people are doing or what is being shown on social media. While not everything on social media is wrong or bad, it can be quite hard to differentiate fact from fiction. If something is marketed as being too good to be true it is most likely not going to be beneficial to your training or your health, in the short or long term. Also understanding that a lot of social media have been airbrushed or manipulated to present an ideal and thus not reflect real life.
And lastly but not least is fluid.
We often get caught up with all the different foods and nutrients that we should be in getting in, yet our bodies cannot function without water (or with the small addition of some sugar free squash).
Every single reaction in the body requires water - without good hydration performance time slows, you'll feel tried. One major impact is that dehydration slows down toxin removal in the cells - this means lactic acid builds up quicker, impacting all elements of training and muscle function. Best to sip water little and often throughout the day and during training, even on cold days or if you are swimming when you may not feel so thirsty.
First-Class Honours degree in Human Nutrition (BSc Hons), Master of Research in Performance Nutrition and Socio-culture (MRES), Registered and accredited Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition (ANutri), and Nutritional Consultant and Nutritional Research Scientist (RSci).
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