We all think we eat more healthily than we do. The phrase “You are what you eat” may be an over used cliche but it is especially relevant to endurance athletes.
Endurance athletes need to eat to support their body through training and racing. Day to day eating habits will either support or sabotage you results. Eating for performance is so important that when I work with my clients, the first thing I want to know is what they’re current eating habits look like. The majority of us think that we eat a far healthier diet than we actually do and so I get them to keep a food diary so that we can understand what they are really eating. This helps them to identify if they are making poor food choices and I focus particularly on their C.R.A.P intake.
So what exactly do I mean but this? I love this acronym because I think that it really sums up the nutritional quality of each of the foods in the word.
C – Carbonated drinks – they are high in fructose which the body sees as a toxin and so stores it as fat to protect the body.
R – Refined carbohydrates – this includes white flour, white bread, white pasta, cakes, biscuits, the majority of cereals etc
A – Alcohol and Artificial flavourings, colours and preservatives. Alcohol is processed by the body as a toxin. Food additives are artificial chemicals used to prolong the life of food, avoid these by eating fresh.
P- Processed Foods – heavily processed foods are likely to contain all of the above as well as trans fats which are considered a danger to good health.
The frightening fact is that in Western society on average 60% of the calories we consume come from highly processed sugars, fats and proteins. This is the root cause of the alarming increase in type 2 diabetes. Added to that refined foods have low nutritional value. If you eat a highly refined diet then you are then relying on 30% of your food intake to supply you with 100% of the 50 essential nutrients you need. These resulting nutritional deficiencies will result in disease.
As an endurance athlete eating a highly refined diet can be even more damaging as you are asking more of your body in training and racing than the average “Couch potato” .
As an endurance athlete if you are training hard, you can probably get away with eating lots of refined carbohydrate without putting on too much weight. However, if you do, you are missing out on vital nutrients that will make a real difference to your training and racing results. By choosing to eat whole foods rich in essential nutrients, you will provide your body with the energy it needs as well as the raw materials it needs to keep your immunity system healthy and your body strong.
You train hard so why sabotage your results with poor food choices?
If you are serious about eating to get your best results this season then I can help. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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