There are many ways to improve performance, no matter what sport you play.
You can hire a skills coach, you can attend development sessions, you can do the work on your own.
Nutrition is absolutely essential to the development of an athlete. There are so many ways to utilize nutrition to your benefit. These are my top three ways to improve your performance using nutrition.
Keep in mind, there are MANY MORE ways to use nutrition to help your performance, recovery, and energy levels…so this is just the tip of the iceberg. I urge you to make small changes, one at a time, until they become habits. Then move on to another, and another, until you’ve got an awesome routine that helps you.
The last thing you want is to create stress when it comes to what to eat and when. By creating habits slowly, you won’t even have to think about it…properly fuelling yourself will be as natural as playing your sport.
Doesn’t seem like a nutrition tip, does it? Let me explain.
Knowing your schedule-when you typically wake up, when you go to school, when you have practice, when you have games, when you go to bed, etc., means you can PLAN. Planning is key if you want to be able to use food for your ultimate performance because WHEN you eat matters almost as much as WHAT you eat when it comes to energy.
If you’re eating food that is high in protein, fibre, or fat, you need to give your body lots of time to digest before activity. You also need to know what to have prepared if you don’t have a lot of time in between school and practice. Knowing your schedule can ease a lot of stress and just make everything easier for you, and your family.
Eating within 30-60 minutes of activity will nourish your muscles when they want nutrients the most. Making a HABIT of eating at this time will help your muscles expect nourishment, potentially creating faster recovery and repair. Not to mention, you are still growing! Make sure you have something nutritious available to you to after activity. Try your best to eat quickly…don’t wait until you get home if you don’t have to. At the very least, have something waiting for you in the fridge or know what you’re going to eat when you get home.
Nutrition is essential but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Knowing what to eat and when can be overwhelming. There is SO MUCH information out there and some of it is conflicting. I am very serious when I say to take things one step at a time. Try introducing more fruit and vegetables into your diet, or eating protein at every meal and snack. Start with one change. And if you slip, dust yourself off and try again. Practicing nutrition is just like practicing a skill, it takes time and you have to do it over and over to get really good at it.
Like I mentioned, this is the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to fuelling your body for performance and recovery.