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Athlete Nutrition: Top Four Performance Killers


Athlete Nutrition

Athlete Nutrition



“The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move.”
-John Wooden



Here at the  NRGTRIBE.com, and certainly in my clinical work, I spend a great deal of energy discussing lifestyle, fitness and nutrition.  However, much of that tends to be directed to those who have a long way to go.  I enjoy the victories won through counseling overweight, inactive or disease-riddled patients to better health, often by helping them realize that FOOD and basic inactivity causes most of their health problems.

But what about the aspiring athlete?  What about the high-school track star or premier soccer player looking to get an edge through proper nutrition?  This is certainly a worthy topic given that food represents fuel to the body.  Just like an Indy car, if you want to go fast or you want to go far, you better have the right fuel!

In this first posting on sports nutrition, I will focus on primarily what NOT TO EAT.  As a formal collegiate sprinter, physician and student of  sport / health / fitness, I strongly believe that these foods almost never belong in a competitive athlete’s diet.

During the course of training or competition, the following foods should either NEVER or EXTREMELY RARELY fall into a competitive athletes diet.

 “Big Four”

1. Alcohol

2. Soda (includes diet sodas, clear sodas)

3. Energy Drinks (Monster drinks, Red Bull, etc.)

4. Highly processed, sugar-laden foods (donuts, candy bars, cakes, pastries, fast food)

This list seems simple, but these foods rob performance.  These foods are consumed more often than people realize, and many athletes have the false impression that they are “okay” in moderation.

In my opinion the only thing you “moderate” by consuming these four is your performance.

Each of the “Big Four” cause wild swings in insulin, causing sudden surges of nervous energy followed by crashes in stamina.  Worse yet, each can decrease mental focus, affect sleep and disrupt proper digestion.  All can lead to inappropriate body fat accumulation.  There is nothing worse than training diligently only to notice stubborn belly fat or excess weight persist.

Removing these four items can spur improvements in body fat composition, allowing greater power, stamina, flexibility, mobility, quickness and overall performance.

A little known fact is that these same four items also tend to create inflammatory changes in the body, making joint, tendon or muscle pain much more common and persistent.  Typically, athletes avoiding the “big four” will notice improved recovery after intense workouts.

Ask any race-car driver: is regular unleaded ok?  

No, you want “racing fuel!”  

Only by fueling up appropriately and avoiding power-robbing contaminants can your body reach maximum performance.

Attractive  as these foods may seem, athletes seeking the highest levels of achievement will notice improvement by eliminating them altogether.

I hope you’ll share this brief post with the athletes in your circle or, better yet, your  teammates.

Individual and team nutrition can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Look for similar topics in the coming weeks as I explore how nutrition affects the competitive athlete!




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