Water intake is drastically under-rated by most athletes. It is actually one of the most important aspects of your diet as it controls so many vital bodily functions including temperature regulation, nutrient uptake, waste removal…all in all your performance depends on it! The body is actually around 60% water so get drinking…and tea, coffee, pop and alcohol don't count as they are diuretic and actually remove water from the tissues where it is needed!
Eat frequent, quality meals
In order to deliver the required amounts of quality nutrients needed to keep the body growing (anabolic) and healthy. Overloading by eating less frequent meals stresses the digestive system and jeopardises nutrient uptake. Remember that everything that you eat is important and as such you should want to absorb it.
Ensure that your protein intake is adequate
When trying to optimise your health and physique you may need to side with “real-world” results rather than with “science-backed” government recommendations. There have been studies to support the ongoing claims that raising protein intake = increased lean muscle tissue, faster metabolism, better fat loss and healthier skin, hair etc.
Eat real food
Supplements are just that! They should augment a healthy eating plan that provides the majority of micro and macro nutrients. Supplements are a convenient addition to the diet in order to supply any deficit not met by your food intake. By relying on supplements you will miss out on vital constituents of a healthy diet – including fibre, phytonutrients and variety.
Concetrate on unrefined, complex carbohydrates
High intakes of refined and processed foods are common in our modern western diet. This greatly reduces our intake of vital nutrients, the majority of which are removed during processing. As individuals we require all the nutrients that we can get, especially from our daily food intake. Eat more whole-foods rather than white rice, white bread and packet foods.
Eat plenty of fibrous carbohydrates
High fibrous vegetables not only deliver important fibre but also vitamins and minerals. Eat a variety as an accompaniment to meals and as a snack throughout the day, rather than sweets and biscuits!
Minimise your simple carbohydrate intake
Sugars have no place in a health-conscious diet. They suppress the immune system, act as a stimulant stressing the adrenal glands and cause an ensuing cortisol response (which is catabolic to muscle tissue), as well as secreting excess insulin that can lead to fat accumulation as well as many other associated problems.
Keep your workouts short and intense
The purpose of your workout is to stimulate muscle which in-turn, when given the right nutrients and rest, repairs and grows to compensate for the ongoing stress it receives. Overlong workout periods will result in amino acids (proteins) being utilised as an energy source, and these will come from catabolised muscle – a loss of muscle tissue is detrimental to your goals.
Use quality and relevant supplements as required
Modern living and intense training raises the bodys’ demand for nutrients required for repair and growth, as well as the nutrients needed for the metabolism of the increased food intake. Extra nutrients are also required to boost the immune system, which is suppressed by intense exercise, and to act as anti-oxidants for the increased free-radical damage caused by exercise. In addition there is an array of supplements available that are specifically marketed for muscle building, fat loss and performance enhancement.