Nutritionist's Guide to Progress Performance
We’ve all heard the word ‘fuelling’ our bodies to progress performance when it comes to daily nutrition and exercise.
But what does it really mean?
During the next 6 weeks of your Unstoppable Series, focusing on your nutrition is essential to perform in your training and work towards your goals. Choosing the right food & nutrients to fuel your body is important and plays a particularly key role in replenishing energy demands of your workouts and aiding in recovery.
Nutrients can be divided into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients (a.k.a macros) are a major component of food and are the nutrients your bodies require in large quantities for energy. Micronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs in smaller amounts.
In this blog, we’re going to focus on macronutrients; protein, carbohydrates & fats; what they are for, how they fuel your body and most importantly when to eat them for best performance. Take note here: the amount of each macronutrient is listed under the ‘Nutrition Information’ section under each recipe in the Unstoppable Series Nutrition Guide in-App portal.
Protein is one of the major building blocks of the human body. It’s important because it builds and maintains your body's tissue, while also working as a neurotransmitter and carrier of oxygen in the blood. Without protein your body will struggle to maintain muscle and also cause fatigue.
Proteins are large molecules consisting of amino acids. Hundreds of amino acids are present in nature but your body only uses 22 of them. Out of those 22 amino acids, your body can produce them all, but 9. These 9 are called essential amino acids and have to be consumed through your diet.
Making sure you are consuming enough protein is important, getting 10-35% of your daily energy intake (calories) from protein should be used as a guide. You can also work out your daily intake based on a g/kg formula; 1.2 to 1.8 g/kg body weight for protein depending on the level of physical activity.
Protein comes from a range of major food sources including legumes (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts), soy products *tempeh, tofu), nuts, whole grains, meat alternative products, seeds, and animal sources (meats, dairy, poultry, eggs, fish).
Just finished a condition session? Maximise your muscle repair within the first hours of completing your session by eating 20-30g of protein (or an equivalent of 9g of essential amino acids).
Carbohydrates are a nutrition powerhouse and for many years have had a bad reputation. But why? The negative perception of carbohydrates isn’t with the nutrients themselves, the problem is with the food selection, and oftentimes, our changing food supply.
Carbohydrates are sugars that break down in the body to create glucose. Glucose is moved around the body in the blood (blood glucose) and it is the primary source of energy for the brain, muscles, and other essential cells.
Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories; simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Sugars are made up of shorter chains of molecules and are quicker to digest than complex carbohydrates. This means when you consume simple carbohydrates they create a spike in your blood glucose, giving you a short lasting source of energy a.k.a the ‘sugar rush’.
Complex carbohydrates provide your body with energy for longer and more efficiently.
To effectively fuel your body with enough energy, a guide is anywhere between 30-60% of your daily energy intake (calories) from carbohydrates. Again, this will depend on your total daily energy expenditure and your goals.
Major food sources for carbohydrates include grains (aim for wholegrains), fruit, various vegetables (potato, peas etc), dairy and sugar.
Carbohydrates provide fuel during your high intensity workouts, spares proteins to preserve muscle mass during exercise, aim to consume a high carbohydrate snack 30-60 minutes before your session.
Time to replenish fuel (glycogen) stores used during your workout. Carbohydrate intake within the first few hours post training plays a crucial role in restoring the glycogen stores. If you’re finding you are fatigued post workout and struggle in later workouts, this could be why.
Similar to carbohydrates, fats have had their time in the spotlight as the villain. According to historical documents and published by JAMA internal medicine, the sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease, in turn promoting saturated fat as the culprit instead, mind-blowing, right?
Fat’s may be the most calorie-dense nutrient out there, but they are very important to normal bodily functions, acting as the foundation to hormones, insulation for nerves, and even your skin and hair will benefit from it.
There are many types of fats, but the main ones to look at are trans fatty acids and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Trans fatty acids a.k.a trans fats are the not-so-good type of fat. They can be found in packaged foods and various margarines.
Omega 3, 6 & 9 are Essential Fatty Acids. Similar to essential amino acids in protein, your body can’t produce them and you have to get them through consumption.
Overall, as a guide, you want to aim to consume around 20-40% of your daily intake (calories) from healthy fats. Fats can be consumed through oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, meats, fish and dairy. Omega-3 fats, particularly, can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, avocados, flax, fish oil and walnuts.
So, Macronutrients, why do we need them?
When it comes to your daily nutrition over the next 6 weeks, it is important to understand what each macronutrient does and how to identify nourishing sources.
As you progress through the Unstoppable Series and increase your training it is key to listen to your body….
Are you fatigued? hungry? performing at your best?
All 3 types of macronutrients will play an important role in your body, and fueling it correctly will in turn, not only benefit your energy, performance, and recovery but also your end goals.
This series is aimed to set you with the right foundations as a guide to help you achieve your goals and create healthier habits. Remember to use these tips to fit your lifestyle.
OUR FINAL HOT TIPS
- Consume enough calories to offset energy expenditure
- The fundamental component to optimising your training and performance through nutrition is to ensure that you consume the proper amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat in your diet
- Increased protein intake benefits endurance
- Consuming enough protein & carbohydrates post workout (within 30 minutes) assists in rapid restore of muscle glycogen
- Carbohydrate intake is important to maintain blood glucose levels during exercise and to replace muscle glycogen.
- The goal is to increase the amount of Omega 3’s and limit the amount of Omega 6’s in your diet