A lack of understanding regarding the importance of proper nutritional strategies is often one of the principal reasons why athletes fail to make the athletic performance gains they should reasonably expect from a strength training and conditioning program. According to John Pryor, there are several common errors athletes make that lead to sub-optimal training outcomes, all of which are easily corrected through a commitment to nutrition education. As a strength and conditioning coordinator responsible for training some of the most elite athletes in the world, John Pryor has developed a few simple strategies to ensure athletes are educated regarding ideal nutritional practices and that they understand the positive impact generated by an adherence to these practices.
The nutritional supplement industry has exploded in recent years, making it possible for athletes to find a powdered version of just about anything they wish to incorporate into their diet. There is not necessarily anything inherently wrong with using a powdered version of protein or anything else as a nutritional supplement, but it is certainly best for athletes to get most of their daily caloric intake through whole, unprocessed foods. This will help athletes avoid the unhealthy additives that are often found in highly processed products while ensuring that nutrient-dense foods make up most — if not all — of the athlete’s diet.
There has been a lot of debate over the most ideal timing for post-workout nutrition, but the general consensus is that some form of protein consumed within 30 to 60 minutes of a workout’s completion will jumpstart the recovery process and contribute to added strength gains. Again, athletes should seek out a whole-food protein source to ensure the available nutrients are effectively utilized within the body during the post-workout recovery process.
The Risk of Overconsumption
Amateur and elite athletes alike are prone to overeating during the course of a training program, and perhaps even more so when the training program is more intense. It is very easy to overestimate caloric needs following intense training sessions, and consuming too many calories during training is one of the most common reasons for a training program to be undermined to a significant degree. Athletes must be aware of what they are putting in their bodies and must also understand the reason why they are putting it in their body. This will ensure that the results of a training program are maximized so that the athlete gets the most out of the effort they put in.