The diet of each athlete should be personalized. Depends on the type of effort, number of training units, start period, as well as health problems. The lack of proper nutritional awareness in the athlete and self-composing a diet, causes that some wrong thinking patterns are translated into practice, which can negatively affect their results.
How should athletes NOT think about diet?
What thinking patterns may have a BAD impact on their results?
Thinking scheme: The middle of the season is a good time to polish my figure’s aesthetics / reduction /making form. The more I train, I lose weight for:
- a wedding
- photos on the beach
- for my better mood.
Reality: season is running – the start period, you need to ensure proper fuel delivery for given training units, energy availability and readiness for maximum effort during the start / matches. After the season, the figure can move higher in the hierarchy of needs with proper training and well-balanced nutrition. Read about the consequences of low energy availability in sport (RED-s) here: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/7/421
Thinking scheme: I will go to training, I will not eat – it will be easier for me to cut myself.
Reality: Exercising a fasting training unit can contribute to a higher level of fatty acid oxidation as fuel during its duration. However, in order for you to reduce body fat, you need the right energy balance throughout the day / week / month. If the goal of the training unit is maximum effort, mental and physical readiness, it should be done with the availability of appropriate energy substrates (here we usually mean muscle, liver and glucose glycogen resources). Read about the effects of fasting training here.
Thinking scheme: I weigh more after the weekend, and I did not train / weigh less after the weekend and – on this basis I will eat more / I will eat less.
Reality: If we want to monitor body weight, let’s do it regularly and get the average of the week. In women, we consider the phase of the menstrual cycle. Read more here.
Thinking scheme: Tomorrow I have an analysis of the composition and body weight in the club – I will not eat dinner today, I will do fasting training tomorrow, dehydrate and I will not eat – fat content will be lower.
Reality: Do you want to cheat the analyzer? Then eat more and do the training. The most commonly used method of measuring body fat in clubs – BIA is sensitive to changes in hydration, electrolyte levels and thus not without significance for the result of lean body mass (as well as percentage of body fat) muscle glycogen level or hydration level will remain. Read more about measurement methods here.
Thinking scheme: The less body fat the better.
Reality: Different disciplines require different body composition and composition. Too low body fat can have destructive effects in terms of performance.