A guide to eating for race perfOrmance

This guide can be broken down into 2 main areas:

  1. Nutrition. What you eat and why you eat it; and
  2. Diet. When you eat it and how much you eat of it.

Nutrition forms one of the key components for any elite training program. Besides their importance in helping to regulate the boy systems and processes for good health, what you eat forms the foundation for your ability to recover and grow from the training load and the ability to maximise your recovery time to enable you to increase your training quality and frequency.

The number one consideration is the type and quality of food you select. Primarily you should seriously consider targeting the freshest produce which is organically grown and ethically farmed. No matter what diet works for you, whether you eat paleo, vegan, vegetarian etc., these foods should be your first choice. Most foods of this type are governed and approved by a recognised association or regulated by a government department and they will bear the logo or branding of that organisation. All nuts, fruits, vegetables, poutlry, dairy and meats can be ethically farmed and organically certified. The common drawback to this is added expense which is usually associated with food of this quality. However when designing or following a good diet plan, it is often the variety and quality of food which can provide the greatest benefits over the quantity of foods,  so well selected foods with the greatest nutrient content can provide greater benefits in smaller quantities over more processed foods. Quality foods, supplemented with lesser priced foods, can make a huge difference to your health and performance (and your budget).

As an example: For the omnivores out there - consider buying a smaller quantity of quality red meat and supplement your meals with chicken and fish. Tinned fish retains much of its quality and nutritional value and provides good variety and balance of the key macros as well as micronutrients. Instead of eating red meat 3 times per week you can well afford to consider cutting this down to 1 or 2 higher quality meals per week.

However, if for  whatever reason, organically grown, ethically farmed, fresh produce is not accessible to you, then your next option is to choose unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Examples of these foods are fresh nuts, vegetables, meats, dairy, poultry and fruits with no added sugars or flavouring. As soon as you add a modern form of packaging, e.g. colourful boxes, plastic shrink wraps etc. and a long list of ingredients that have been added, then you can be pretty sure that the food product has been processed.