Olympic Nutrition: Five Tips to Boost YOUR Performance

Tip of the Day – Thursday 28th June

With less than 30 days to go until the London 2012 opening ceremony, here’s a run down of the top five nutrition tips you can learn from Olympic athletes to improve your performance – whatever it is you do.

1. Eat breakfast: Athletes know that this is the most important meal of the day. It’s difficult to give everything in training if you are not fueled up properly. Athletes can’t just survive on a bit of toast or some cereal either. Try eggs or beans on toast followed by some fresh fruit and yogurt. Fuel up your day!

2. Hydrate: Being more than 2% dehydrated will impact on athletic performance and skill, so athletes obsess about being fully hydrated. Being hydrated makes it easier to stay focused and means you’re less likely to feel tired during the day. There’s no set target amount. Just sip water, diluted juices, or herbal teas through the day. If your urine is clear, you’re hydrated.

3. Eat Protein: Protein is required for growth and repair, so is important for athletes when recovering from training. It is also required for making all the stuff that makes your body work, like enzymes and hormones. Including protein with each meal also helps slow down the release of energy from the meal, so you’ll be sustained longer and be less likely to reach for the sugary snacks between meals. Protein foods include meat, fish, dairy, eggs, beans, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds.

4. Avoid empty calories, eat ‘real food’: Athletes ensure they get the necessary vitamins, minerals and phytocompounds from their diet by eating real food. That is to say food that is as close to its original form as possible. That rules out processed foods, cakes and biscuits, which provide plenty of calories, but no real nutrition – so-called ‘empty calories’. That means lots of fruit and veg, whole grains, meat, fish, dairy, nuts and seeds – in other words a balanced healthy diet devoid of junk.

5. Relax: OK, not a nutrition tip as such, but eating when relaxed allows for full and complete digestion/absorption of the nutrients in food. The opposite is grabbing lunch on the run, or eating during a meeting. Athletes prioritise nutrition and build in suitable time to eat properly. You can do the same.

About Paul Chamberlain

Paul Chamberlain MSc is a performance nutritionist based in Hertfordshire supporting athletes in a variety of sports and offering weight loss and general nutrition coaching to anyone looking to improve their health and well-being. Paul has lectured extensively on nutrition and is former Technical Director at Solgar Vitamin & Herb, where he gained extensive knowledge of the supplement market. Paul uses a functional approach to promote improved performance and long-term health. http://www.beyond-nutrition.co.uk