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sport nutrition getting started

How to Get Started With Sport Nutrition (A Beginner’s Guide)

sport nutrition getting started
With Expert Insights From
Injury Expert Johnny Wilson
Johnny Wilson
Clinical Director 108 Harley Street

Don’t know where to start with your sports nutrition?
This beginner’s guide to sports nutrition will show you a few simple steps you can follow to get the foundations in place for an effective sports nutrition plan.

The sports nutrition landscape

This is a fast paced multi billion dollar industry. There are literally thousands upon thousands of ‘sport nutrition’ products on the market that claim to:

  • Improve sporting performance
  • Enhance muscle growth & strength (hypertrophy)
  • Reduce body fat
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve hydration status
  • Improve concentration levels
  • Improve recovery and recovery rate

Navigating your way through the countless advertisements on social media platforms, which champion the performance and health benefits of nutritional products, is a daunting task indeed.

So how do you get started with sport nutrition?

The purpose of this sports nutrition blog series for beginners is to explain simply what Sport Nutrition is , with plain speaking terminology, and explain how to apply the concept of sport nutrition to help improve any, or all, of the aspects above.

What is sport nutrition?

Sport nutrition relates to any nutritional ingredient, otherwise known as an ‘ergogenic aid’, that can improve your ability to perform exercise or enhance training adaptations. For example, building muscle and reducing body fat.

What are the benefits of sport nutrition?

A well planned out sport nutrition plan can help you to prepare optimally to exercise , improve your exercise efficiency, enhance recovery from exercise and help reduce your risk of injury especially during periods of intense training or competition.

How do I get started with a sport nutrition plan?

Firstly, start with the big rocks. Before investing in any supplementary products, review your existing nutrition, and follow these simple steps to create the foundation for an effective sport nutrition plan…

  1. Write out your Sport Nutritional Goals.
    For example, is it to increase muscle muscle mass, loose body fat, improve speed or improve endurance, etc.
  2. Start recording what you are currently eating and drinking using a food diary.
    There are plenty of apps that make this process relatively easy.
  3. Make a list of the foods that don’t serve your Sport Nutritional Goals.
    Try and replace each one with a healthy alternative over a period of 8 weeks.
  4. Implement some strategies to ensure you are drinking enough water.
    For example, you might get one of your friends to be your ‘accountability buddy’ who periodically checks up on you to make sure you are drinking enough water. Or you might reward yourself at the end of a 30 day period if you stick to your hydration plan. You get the idea – sometimes the carrot is better than the stick.
  5. Sleep is an extremely important factor to help the restoration and recovery process.
    It is during this time that the body will make the desired adaptations from exercise. Ensuring you get enough quality sleep will optimise your Sport Nutrition Goals.
  6. Exercise: Start keeping an exercise diary.
    Link this to your Sport Nutrition Goals and set yourself some short (4 – 8 weeks), medium (3 – 6 months) and long (6 – 36 months) term targets that will help with your motivation.
  7. Mindset: This is arguably the most important aspect of any Sport Nutritional Plan.
    Everything begins as a thought. So the idea is to cultivate the right thoughts everyday which are inline with your goals. If it is to be a fitter, faster, slimmer, stronger healthier human being then this process must start with the right mindset.
  8. Supplement.
    If you find that you are missing some key nutritional ingredients in your diet that you are struggling to include in your regular eating habits, due to time constraints or availability, then sports supplements might be helpful to ensure a balanced approach.

Getting the best from a sports nutrition plan

In my opinion, Sport Nutrition applies to all aspects of life. It invades how we think, move, eat and sleep. I like to think of it as a ‘Gestalt approach’, meaning that we cannot separate the mind from the body. Therefore, in order to get the best results possible, we need to incorporate all aspects of a person’s life when delivering a Sport Nutrition Plan.

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