Ask the best athletes of any sport about what keeps their engine running for prolonged periods of time and you would unanimously get the same answer: conditioning and nutrition. These two go hand in hand in making or breaking your race.
I daresay that conditioning itself relies on nutrition for it to become a factor in performance advancement. Without sound nutrition for life and fueling for performance you cannot build that strong athletic machine that keeps ticking away.
I tell my athletes that in my humble opinion, nutrition and fueling is 60% of training and racing. You can be an elite endurance athlete, with exceptional conditioning and a remarkable talent, but if your pre race nutrition and race-day fueling is off, there's a good chance you are not going to have a good race.
I always give the brand-new-car analogy: if you have a brand new convertible Ferrari with all the bells and whistles (a conditioned athlete with exceptional prowess), but that car lacks the correct fuel (it would need a high-test super unleaded fuel), would you expect that car to drive fast? Chances are it may even choke or bonk!
An athlete’s nutrition should always be for life. That is the foundation of a strong, healthy, and prepared body to take on the onslaught of rigorous training. The reliance should always be on whole foods, non-processes foods that nourishes the body with essential amino acids, protein such as lean meats, eggs, legumes and nuts. Complex carbohydrates such as veggies, potatoes, yam, brown rice, quinoa and Oates are a great clean source of energy. Avoid eating empty carbs in cakes, pizza, bread, cookies and starchy foods. These processed foods will make you sluggish, bloated and will slow down your long-term progress, not to mention how many athletes I have seen with a tiny gut! Clean up your nutrition by removing junk from your trunk ASAP!
In addition to life nutrition, pre-during-and post training and racing nutrition is the foundation of high level performance. Fueling prior to a key training session is vital to performance and execution of the high demands of rigorous bouts of training. Fueling with amino acids, electrolytes and proper hydration is vital to finishing in a strong fashion. Then when the training session is done, it is vital to replenish your body with the proper macronutrients, protein shakes are great for post workout and recovery fueling, then a good meal with all the needed building blocks of life can really hit the spot.
Is your goal to become a strong, fast, and healthy athlete with an exceptional longevity? Then that’s your road map. Walk the talk!