One of the first things I hear when someone enters into the Xcellerated Speed Training Program is that the individual wants to be an elite athlete with their training protocol. Nutrition should be an athlete’s main focus when trying to take their game to the next level. Typically, a client will run through all the various forms of exercise they are currently performing. They will spell out each detail of what happens on each day and how many sets, exercises, reps, etc.They will spend so much time and energy focusing on things like how much they can lift and so forth, yet they will neglect what they put in their bodies.
Nutrition should be the staple of your training protocol because without it you will not have the appropriate fuel for the sport you are partaking in. Most parents will spend money proper equipment, personal training, speed and agility work, special clinics and camps, but let their child go to practice after eating McDonald’s.
I think that an athlete is very much like a finely tuned sports car, it can be the most impressive and beautiful thing to drive if it has gas in it. The same holds true for a high level athlete. You can send your child to all the best things that money can provide but if you are feeding them inappropriate things prior to the event or training, you are wasting your money.
The very first thing we talk about in the initial consultation is medical history form followed by what they eat on a regular basis. I have this discussion every time and at least one athlete always shows up to training not consuming the items we discussed. This then leads to them going hypoglycemic and me having to taper back the session. It is crucial that an athlete eats a balance of protein and carbohydrates about an hour prior to training or practice. If you are trying to workout on an empty stomach, you are in a catabolic state.
This means you are losing lean muscle tissue and storing pounds of fat. In order for the body to function appropriately, it must have fuel to supply the energy and means to rebuild lean muscle tissue. If you are not currently doing this, you would be better off sitting at home on your couch for your training protocol because you would exert less energy and not lose as much lean muscle.
The best thing an athlete can do is to hire someone to do a nutritional consultation with them prior to determining what their training protocol will look like. They should be able to give you a baseline for your caloric intake and talk to you about the differences in the glycemic ratio between various foods. An athlete should also be consuming enough protein to substantiate their training protocol and personal bodyfat % goals.
Hydration is another area that is neglected when talking about what an athlete needs. If you are consuming ice tea, soda, or Gatorade as you main staples of hydration, you are in serious trouble. The number one thing to consume is water. A person on average should consume a bare minimum of 16 ounces of water every two hours or so. When there is only a 1% decrease in hydration levels it can affect athletic performance.
If your mouth is dry, you are already dehydrated. The best way to rehydrate is to take small sips of water, so that the body can absorb it. Some people will try to chug a bottle of water, which DOES NOT help rehydrate you. In fact, your body will end up excreting the water and you will still be in the same or worse state of dehydration.
In closing, if you want your child to be an elite athlete, make sure you give them the tools to succeed. The first tool should be making sure they are being fed appropriate calories for their activity level and goals. You can have the fastest car of anyone in the world, but if the car has no gas how fast does it really go? If you have questions about your nutrition or your athlete’s nutrition, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.