Everybody has different eating habits, and our busy lifestyles make it easy for us to gravitate back to what is familiar without challenging if those food choices align with training requirements and are what our bodies need.
Every time you eat something, you have an opportunity to improve your health and take one step towards your performance goals.
There is no denying there are a lot of foods out there to choose from! How often do you find yourself making food choices because; ‘it was free’, ‘I wanted something exciting to eat’, ‘it’s the easiest option’, or ‘I don’t want to offend someone’.
Similarly, if athletes are being guided by what other successful athletes are eating, this can also mislead food choices because it’s not right for YOUR needs and YOUR training.
If you don’t have a performance-focused purpose to consider before you put food in your mouth, then your food choices are not aligned with your goals; you are missing a key performance opportunity.
For athletes, the focus of food choices should be your training and performance goals.
This might mean:
- Having a different meal plan for each day of the week to match your training schedule; increasing your intake before a heavy or high-intensity session, and reducing your portions on rest days.
- Packing food to take with you; thus avoiding fast food on the run.
- Or simply pausing before you eat to ask yourself, ‘will this help me reach my goal?’
Eating well can be hard sometimes and it takes commitment. However, if your goal is important enough, you should take ownership of your diet and use your food intake as a performance advantage.
If you don’t have all the answers for what this looks like or you need more education on making food choices, then speak to a dietitian who can help you problem solve the challenges you face when making food choices.