Nutrition under pins our health, performance, how we think, how we adapt and most of all how we recover.
Nutrition is over complicated by many. There are two sides of the coin that you need to understand when building a SUSTAINABLE nutrition plan:
1) Eating for health is of paramount importance as a unhealthy body can’t sustain desired levels of performance long term. A healthy and nutritious diet needs to have these prerequisites in it:
7-12 different fruit and veg per day. Thats right, you need a variety of vitamins and minerals daily to be able to meet your demands daily. Vitamins and minerals are essential to help energy production and to keep a healthy metabolism.
Keeping your protein at 2g per kilo of bodyweight. Yes, this sounds a lot but most of us want to have enough building blocks to maintain muscle mass as well as maintain a healthy system to work with. Protein comes from meat, dairy, nuts and some pulses. Protein isn’t just to ‘keep your gains bro’. Its used for cell regeneration, hair growth, nail growth, as well as helping repair damaged tissues throughout the body.
- Hydration is a key factor in building a healthy diet. Hydration is the number one missed part of nutrition in my eyes as people forget how important actually drinking water is. 1L per 25kg of body mass is a minimum. Just a 1% drop in hydration can lead to impaired performance and this isn’t just in sport. It effects learning, thinking as well as every day activity.
2) The other side of nutrition is aimed at performance based nutrition.
This is where the Eric Helms nutrition pyramid comes into play.
Each stage of the pyramid represents a important part of building a plan that will help you perform at your best. The relevance of the pyramid structure is that you need to get your base sorted and in control first before you move up to the next level. There are too many people out there insisting they aren’t reaching their goals because of a specific supplement they aren’t taking or because their nutrient timing is off by half an hour. If you haven’t nailed the basics, you don’t have the right to move up the pyramid.
The Eric Helms Nutrition Pyramid: The Muscle and Strength Pyramid: Nutrition
Behaviour and Lifestyle- this relates to your daily activities. Are you an individual whose daily habits are staying active and keeping your health a priority to perform in sport or the board room. Or are you sat at home playing playstation and eating chocolate all day. Lifestyle standards need to be upped if you are the latter.
Energy balance- This equates to calories in and calories out. When learning about nutrition it is wise to learn to calorie count. This will empower you to make better choices when you are trying to meet the demand of your goal.
Macronutrients- This is your split of protein, carbs and fats. These will vary depending on your goals or your body type. There is strong evidence that you should start with a protein intake of around 1.8-2.2g of protein per kg of lean body mass. Then depending on your current body composition and performance goals we then decide of which macros to make up the rest fo your diet.
Micronutrients- Micronutrients are your vitamin and mineral intake. As described previously variety is king in this situation. We are a complex organism that needs many different vitamins and minerals to help keep our immune system running on all gas as well as keeping our metabolism running efficiently. Energy production is correlated with how nourished we are, so when aiming to perform we need to be able to be as efficient as possible.
Nutrient timing- This mainly applies to performance driven individuals. It isn’t the be all and end all in the grand scheme of things. But the little things count when we are dealing with high levels of performance. I.e fuelling your current workout or replenishing energy stores post workout to recover for the next days activity. This is all built into the nutrition plan, but only when we have the foundations ticked off first.
Supplements- These are there to cover the bases. Supplements will never replace a structured nutrition plan. But we use them to cover bases as we are utilising different vitamins and minerals to super compensate for the volume of exercise and our performance. We also use elements of sports nutrition to aid with the one percenters that can be the difference between winning and loosing at the competitive level. Remember SCIENCE wins! So science backed application is the key to a effective supplement plan.
Using nutrition to nourish and improve your performance is the number one factor to consider. It is one of the limiting factors when dealing with general population to elite athletes. The aim is to instil habits to make these factors accumulate to produce the result that you seek.