#2 It’s time to get specific
Every athlete has completely different training and lifestyle demands. Therefore, their nutrition should look completely different too. You’re not going to tell a banker to eat the same as a triathlete.
Athletes need to eat according to their demands. Every sport will have limitations and every individual will have limitations. Sports nutrition has now moved away from suggesting % targets for different macronutrients. For example, aiming for 50% of your diet to come from carbohydrate is a terrible recommendation. Why?
Because it doesn’t take into consideration what their overall food intake is. Are you even eating enough food in the first place?
You could tell an athlete to eat 50% off their food from carbohydrate, but if they are significantly under eating and only consuming 1000kcal per day, that is a poor recommendation.
A sumo wrestlers food intake is going to look very different to a gymnast. Therefore, recommendations should be completely tailored to the athletes body weight. Sports nutrition now looks at how much carbohydrate, protein and other nutrients you should be consuming per kilogram of your body weight.
So, for example, if you are a footballer and are training once per day, you should be targeting 4-5 grams per kilogram of your bodyweight.
For a 70kg athlete, that is 280-350 grams per day.
This is the level of specificity you need to be able to take your nutrition to the next level. Specific nutrition programmes will help you:
- Train better
- Recover quicker
- Become stronger
- Perform at your best
Irritatingly, in the nonsensical world of nutrition, people often promote their ‘correct way of eating’. But the problem is, what works for them is unlikely to work for you. No one size fits all. Not only does everyone have different training and activity levels, but we also have completely different jobs, food preferences, timings, barriers, intolerances, allergies, cooking abilities and finances. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration when making nutrition support.
That is why you need a nutritionist.