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5 of the biggest nutrition mistakes you're probably making

Let’s set a few things straight.

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1. Not eating enough

FOOD FUELS PERFORMANCE.

It’s crazy to under eat and limit the amount of energy which you can gain from eating the right food. Generally people are afraid to overeat in case they gain weight, this results in them staying too far below their required intake for performance.

It’s better to be overweight than underweight coming into pre-season as it is always easier to lose fat than gain muscle when in season. A simple rule of thumb is if you’re food intake isn’t bigger each day and at every meal than your non-athlete friend/partner/parents, then something is wrong.

Either they are eating like an athlete or you are not eating like an athlete.

2. Not setting targets

We can always improve some aspect of performance and these margins for improvement decrease the higher the level of sport you play. Nutrition is one of the areas that athletes can make the biggest improvements in and it’s often neglected.

Most athletes know what they can and can’t get away with so they just do enough to get by, especially in-season. You should always have some form of body composition goal in mind to stay on track. This could be dropping 2% body fat or gaining some lean mass.

Nutrition is not just for losing a few pounds.

3. No plan

Everyone should have a training plan. You know what days you will be training, when you will be competing or playing a match and what days you will have to rest. The 7 days of the week are never the same when it comes to the demands on your body.

It doesn’t make sense then, if your nutrition looks the same 7 days a week. Match your nutrition to your training.

For example, a GAA player looking to lose some body fat may reduce carbohydrate intake on non-training days. The days of the cookie cutter one size fits all plans are gone.

4. Not following a healthy lifestyle 24/7

You cannot be a brilliant athlete without being a generally healthy person first. Our 24/7 day to day health is the foundation for all aspects of performance nutrition.

A proactive approach to general health will help prevent illness, reduce inflammation and many other key areas for athletes.

Many athletes think they can get away with poor quality foods and take-aways as long their pre-competition meal is good. Sports nutrition is a 24/7 thing and not just what you eat before you compete.

We can all think of someone that goes against this rule and fair play to them, but these people are few and far between and never have the career longevity of athletes that follow the 24/7 lifestyle.

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5. All about the supplements

Food first, supplement second. The name is a give away, supplements are there to supplement a good diet.

You can spend all the money in the world on supplements, but if you are not taking in the required nutrients the rest of the time, you are wasting your time.

When you have the basics nailed down, then some supplements may be beneficial based on the demands of your sport but the number of genuinely performance enhancing supplements out there is less than you think.

Don’t believe the hype and advertising.

In association with Elite Physical Prep. Check out their websiteTwitter or Facebook for more information.

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