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Nutrition 101: The Basics

In the future, we will get much more in-depth on nutrition. But here is what you NEED to know as an athlete, whether you row or play rugby.

The 5 key things, in order of importance:

1. Are you getting enough calories?

2. Hydration.

3. Macronutrients - focus on protein.

4. Timing.

5. Micronutrients.

You need to master 1 before you even think about the next one. So let's go through them.

1. Are you getting enough calories?

You need to adequately fuel your training and recover from it. If you don't then in the short term you won't get the most out of your training, and in the long term your performances will suffer. Most athletes tend to undereat. So eat more than you think.

2. Hydration.

As a basic guide you should be:

Drinking mostly water (and NO fizzy drinks).

Urinating every couple of hours.

Urine colour should be clear - if it's yellow then drink a little bit more than you have been.

Why is hydration so important? As with getting enough calories into your body, if you don't stay hydrated enough your training and performance will suffer.

3. Macronutrients - focus on protein.

Now that you're eating enough calories, it's time to start making sure that they are the right ones. As a rough guide, take your bodyweight (bw) in kg, multiply it by 2, and that's how many g of protein you should be eating.

For example: 90kg bw, so 180g of protein per day.

After eating all of this protein, how many calories have you consumed? How many have you got left over? Eat whatever else is left over as a balance of vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and fats.

How do you know how many calories you had left over? Use a simple tracker - there are many free apps that you can choose from.

4. Timing.

When are you eating your meals?

Now that you know how much protein you need, split is evenly amongst 6 meals. So using our example from earlier of the person requiring 180g or protein a day, that breaks down to 6 meals of 30g of protein. Over a day, that is eating roughly every 3 hours.

5. Micronutrients.

This is a complex area. The easiest way to ensure that you are getting the required micronutrients is to have a wide and varied selection of fruit and vegetables. Having different colours of vegetables on your plate when possible helps to ensure this.

That is a simple 5 step overview of the basics of nutrition for high performance. Remember to ensure that you have mastered one step before moving to the next as you Improve Your Performance.

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