An athlete will be familiar with the scenario where you have been through a bout of training and later that day you pull up sore with a niggle in a certain area.
That discomfort makes you aware of something in the body’s mechanics that doesn’t feel ‘right’ and may have an impact on training if left that way. Often you’ll mention it to a coach or physio to try and understand what that pain might be to manage it and get you back to training in a way that is efficient and effective – but do you consider the impact your diet could have on the issue?
Nutrition doesn’t have as much of an instant impact if something isn’t right – unless you are anaphylactic that is – and it can be harder to identify the signs showing how your nutrition could support your training better.
However, there are still subtle signs your body tells you to highlight the need for nutrition intervention. Tuning into your body to observe how you respond to food, and how you feel over the day, helps you understand if your diet is on track and aligned with your health and physical goals.
These signs include:
- Appetite – are you always hungry? Or not wanting as much food?
- Energy levels – are you constantly flat, tired and wanting a nap?
- Sugar cravings and sweet cravings – especially later in the day
- Mood swings, irritability or negative emotions around food
- Bloating, cramps or discomfort in the gut
- Not meeting your body composition targets
- You feel like you can’t get full after meals or can’t stop eating
- Changes to skin quality, flatulence and unexplained headaches
You don’t always know the answers to what is causing these issues, but having an awareness of their presence and connection with imbalances in diet habits and nutrition can identify when to seek the guidance of your dietitian. They can help to translate these signs and work towards nutrition strategies which support your body’s needs to train at its best.