A guide to sport nutrition for optimum health

Truth on diet supplements and advanced sport nutrition. Building a better body

“Trust me, I am an athlete”

In the world of sport nutrition nothing is more annoying, cynical or downright wrong than a well known athlete endorsing and promoting a poor quality product.

Tri-athletes and “Iron men” promoting sugar-laden breakfast cereals; sprinters and long distance runners promoting low grade vitamin supplements, football players associating their success with fast food franchises – the list is endless.

Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, look at billboards and there is some athlete with tanned muscles and a cheesy grin confusing you and your children about the extraordinary health benefits of something close to junk food.

The likelihood is the athlete would probably never touch the product they are promoting as part of their sport nutrition programme but the lure of advertising dollars is just too appealing.

The problem compounded

You need to avoid the confusion of the marketing spin when sorting sport nutrition facts from sport nutrition nonsense. Even the health establishment, who you expect to trust with your health, continues to unknowingly provide us with information that is questionable. The general public should be made aware of this – for a serious sports person or athlete understanding the facts of sport nutrition is an absolute priority.

One of the major hurdles to overcome when dealing with sport nutrition for athletes is the misunderstanding and disinformation associated with Recommended Daily Allowance – RDA. The misunderstandings are compounded by doctors, some nutritionists, and the current health paradigm. RDA’s were not designed for people to reach their optimal levels of health and they are certainly not designed to help an athlete keep his or her body operating at peak potential.

Getting good H2O

Sticking to the basics is not as easy as it used to be. Three square meals a day and a few glasses of tap water 60 years ago may have given you all the sustenance needed. Today there are additional challenges in watering and feeding our bodies. These challenges are magnified when the advanced requirements of an athlete’s body are considered.

Your muscles are 75% water. Your blood is more than 80% water. Even your bones are 25% water. It is critical that you drink clean and pure water. That is a greater challenge than you might think.

It is generally too expensive for water authorities to clean water to its purest state. The water that comes out of your tap or faucet can still contain traces of industrial chemicals, pesticides and chlorine. The traces are small and they will not kill the average person but it can affect the performance of a highly tuned athlete’s body.

The bottled water business is largely unregulated. The water is still not guaranteed free of contaminants. The purest form of water is distilled water. Steam distillation removes the contaminants.

Next time you are out shopping for water look for the several brands of distilled water available. Your body will thank you for it.

Getting good nutrition

How can it be that over the last 60 years with an increase in agricultural production the greatest challenge has been getting good nutrition? This is largely due to the degradation of our soils and food supply. Modern farming, storage and distribution methods have degraded the food we eat which in turn degrades our bodies. This is further exaggerated in athletes where the process of oxidative stress is sped up.

As an athlete, in order to get the nutrition your body needs, vegetables, fruits and whole grains should form the basis of your diet. Eat only certified organic produce and supplement your diet with only high quality nutritional supplements. Cut out the bad fats and get the right amount of essential fatty acids including omega 3 fish oil.

Fighting fit or fighting fat!

Athletes and sportspeople in the Western world still need to fight the temptations that cause excess fat and eventually lead to obesity. It is important to understand that fat is dependent upon diet and lifestyle and is rarely genetic.

Popular dieting systems do not work. Regardless of all the hype, advertising and testimonials and pictures of before and after – they are short term. Diet companies rely on the two human traits of laziness and wanting something for nothing. Real, lasting fat loss needs to be a long term endeavour. Long term is a minimum of one year. Your body operates on a cellular level takes time to alter its tissues and cells to suit your new levels of fat. Any sudden change will cause your body to store fat as a biological defense.

Sounds simple but the most important way of reducing fat levels in your body is to avoid fat! That is the saturated fat in predominantly found in meat and dairy food.

Building a better body

More than 90% of the molecules in the human body are replaced each year. “You are what you eat” is truer than many people really believe.

Vitamins and minerals are the most basic building blocks for any body. If you want to build a supreme athletic body you need to take special note. As with the long term approach to weight and fat loss so to should the approach to vitamin and mineral intake be long term – life long!

As previously stated, the basis of your diet should be vegetables, fruits and whole grains, preferably organic produce. Supplement your diet with only high quality nutritional supplements. Cut out the bad fats and get the right amount of essential fatty acids including omega 3 fish oil. One of the important factors in choosing quality nutritional supplements is so that you can guarantee the safety of those supplements.

Getting serious about nutrition

This website only touches on the detailed subject of sport nutrition. I don’t often recommend a single source of material for further research. For an excellent, concise, honest, ruthlessly researched and easy to read book I would highly recommend Optimum Sports Nutrition by Doctor Michael Colgan. (Reference 26)