Nutrition is the biggest factor in leading a healthy lifestyle. But it is also the biggest factor that many people neglect, overlook and look for quick fixes instead of making lifestyle changes. As athletes, nutrition becomes even more important as you will be burning many more calories and expending great amounts of energy through day to day training, and in match situations. Also having active daily schedules, involving studying and work that tax the brain and body. So you must eat the right foods. What is 80-20? Fitness is about 20% of the training you do and 80% nutrition, (what you fuel your body with). Think about it like this: as a collegiate athlete you might complete up to 10 training sessions a week. Giving you plenty of opportunities to improve you game and skills. But by doing this you will also be eating, I am presuming, up to 5 meals/snacks a day - so that's up to 35 meal a week. So that speaks for itself really, you eat more than you will ever train so why not pay a greater deal of attention (80%) to your food intake. Before I start to talk about some nutritional ideas I want to state that there is not, and never will be, a one size fits all approach. No two people are the same or have the same needs so your nutritional choices will not be exactly the same as a friend or family member. However the food choices in general may be very similar. PALEO/PRIMAL This might be something you have heard of or it might be completely new. If it is new to you stick with me. It might just go against everything you have heard about nutrition before but before you write anything off you must try new things. That is what I did 3 years ago and have never looked back. Here is how I choose to eat I base my nutritional choices on: meats, fowl, game, fish, seasonal fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds. Ensuring that most if not all of these are in season and local. Get down to the farm shop/butcher to find the best quality and ask questions about where things come from. Once the best produce you can afford is acquired get in the kitchen a cook. This is one skill I believe that everyone should have. If you cannot cook, you cannot eat correctly, plus, once you cook, you become creative and find recipes you like and enjoy, and fuel your lifestyle to the best effect. So that is how I choose to eat and it works perfectly for me, and I would advise you to try it before dishing it off. Then the best part of it is that it is so versatile, and can and should be made to suit YOUR needs, because remember you are unique and know your body and lifestyle better than anyone else. For more information about this lifestyle and Paleo/Primal food I would highly recommend reading the following books: • Primal Bluepint • Everyday Paleo • It Starts With Food All these guys offer a great insight into leading a Primal/Paleo lifestyle.
Remember as athletes that you need the correct fuel in order perform at your best. Also eating the correct food will have a positive impact on your brain and how your body functions and reacts to food, which will, in turn, help your studies and education. It's win win all round. We would love to hear your thoughts and how you fuel your body for your sport and lifestyle! TRAIN HARD. EAT RIGHT. LIVE WELL.