The principles of everyday eating

To many people, sports nutrition is about carbo-loading for a competition, or having the latest sports food or supplement. However, the ‘big-ticket item’ with the most potential to influence your sports performance is your training diet.

On the basis of time alone, your training diet is the aspect of your total nutrition most likely to make an impact on your body. It also lays the groundwork that is critical to your long-term success. Everyday eating must keep you healthy and uninjured, and in top shape for your sport. And it must support you through all the training that is needed to get you to the starting line or opening bounce.

Nutritional challenges

Daily training creates special nutritional needs for an athlete, particularly the elite athlete whose training commitment is almost a fulltime job. But even recreational sport will create nutritional challenges. And whatever your level of involvement in sport, you must meet these challenges if you’re to achieve the maximum return from training.

Without sound eating, much of the purpose of your training might be lost. In the worst-case scenario, dietary problems and deficiencies may directly impair training performance. In other situations, you might improve, but at a rate that is below your potential or slower than your competitors. However, on the positive side, with the right everyday eating plan your commitment to training will be fully rewarded.

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Concluding remarks

So what does a successful training diet look like? There is no perfect combination of foods or single eating plan that will meet the nutritional challenges of every athlete. When you read Part II of this book, you will find that nutritional needs and interests vary between sports. Imagine trying to find a single menu to encompass the food likes and dislikes, finalpp_pages001-.indd 3 29/10/09 4:12 PM FOOD FOR SPORTS PERFOR M ANCE 4 not to mention the lifestyles, of all athletes!

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While the focus and details will differ from one athlete to the next, there are certain goals that are common to all sports

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