Four Common Nutrition Mistakes made by Endurance Athletes
I’ve had the privilege of working as a Nutrition Consultant and Accredited Sports Dietitian for some years. During this time I’ve seen countless athletes who have struggled in their chosen sport, due largely to making a number of basic nutrition errors. Once these problems are identified and rectified it is common to see athletes recording significant improvements in their performance.
It is important to note that while good nutrition will never replace a sensible training program, it is an essential component to sporting success, and without good nutrition, an athlete will never reach their full sporting potential.
In this article I’ve listed just four of the nutrition mistakes that I regularly come across, however there are many other nutrition errors that athletes tend to make.
- Trying a new product for the first time during a race, without trialling it in training first: Are you guilty of this? It’s amazing how many athletes have done this and subsequently suffered from gastrointestinal upsets and/or poor performance, or worse still, a DNF. It is essential to try out any changes to both your pre-race nutrition and your race day nutrition in training, so that you avoid any nasty surprises!
- Taking the “wrong” supplements: Not everyone will benefit from taking a nutritional supplement, however you may need to supplement your diet if you regularly skip meals or eat mostly processed foods or follow a restrictive eating pattern. But how do you know what areas your diet is lacking in and which particular supplements are best for you? Rather than receiving advice from well-meaning friends or a salesperson, it makes sense to look for an Accredited Sports Dietitian who can provide unbiased advice on supplements based on the latest scientific evidence.
- Poor recovery after training and racing: Performance enhancements occur after exercise, but only if we recover properly. Recovery is enhanced by ensuring an adequate intake of fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrate and protein as soon as possible after the completion of exercise (ideally within 30 minutes). This is especially important if you are training more than once in a day.
- Following a nutrition plan designed for someone else: Every person is unique and has different nutrition requirements. This means that there is no “ideal” diet or nutrition supplement that is right for everyone. Some people require a little more protein while others function much better with an increase in carbs. Some people have food intolerances which can lead to symptoms such as fatigue or gastrointestinal discomfort, while others can eat virtually anything.
In Australia, Accredited Sports Dietitians are recognised as the experts in sports nutrition, so if you would like individualised nutrition advice or a personalised nutrition plan, why not make an appointment at Coffs Coast Nutrition. We can arrange appointments in person and via phone and email. Contact (02) 6652 7529 or visit our website: www.coffscoastnutrition.com.au.
(Special Thanks to Louise Williams from Coffs Coast Nutrition for this article. If you need help with nutrition at all, get in touch with her for more info).