Classic nutrition mistakes are those things we eat or drink that we can sum up in 3 words – “holds you back”. Heard the one about a National Soccer Team who were given cheese sandwiches to eat just before a big World Cup qualifying match? It was reported by Roy Keane, refuted by the travel organiser and has gone down in history along with Keane’s comment of “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. So if at the top level of sport mistakes are made, what are the classic nutrition mistakes which are holding back your performances? We asked the Kaprina LLC Advisory Board and our BOSSNA™ coaches and athletes for how to avoid beginner mistakes.
Know Your Goal
I’m worn out hearing this from the folks at Kaprina LLC, K now Your Goal. However they’re right. This eliminates a large numbers of mistakes from the off. Don’t walk into a sports nutrition store before you know what you want to do, because while most employees are ethical, you might have the odd shark who can smell your lack of knowledge and you end up with 4 x 5kg tubs of Whey Protein and another 20kgs of powders and mixes that will only give your rubbish collector a good laugh in a couple of weeks. So do a bit of research on what you need, outline a diet and then get down to business.
The Kaprina LLC Advisory Board gave us the following scientific based advice:
- Make sure your regular diet has enough nutritional and micronutritional components – So that supplements you buy have an impact.
- There is a difference between losing weight and getting in shape – Fat can be lost and turned into muscle => nutrition and exercise needs to be oriented.
- Don’t solely rely on supplements for your nutrition – you need to integrate them into your diet.
From the Coaches and Athletes
I’ll start with my 2 pieces, energy/isotonic drinks and under-hydration.
- Unless you are in a severely hot and humid environment, or working out over 60-90 minutes intensely, you don’t need to chug down isotonic or energy drinks like it’s going out of fashion. Most are simply sugared water and are going to hold you back (both during and after).
- As a former boxer I’m speaking from experience. under-hydration is dangerous for a wide range of reasons. From putting stress on your cardio-vascular system, leaving you open to brain damage and accelerating cramping. A good rule, in the half hour before training, drinks 2 cups of water. And during the course of an average day try to get fluids into your body, especially water.
And from our coaches and athletes we got the following solid advice:
- “Your recovery is important. Make sure you get protein in at the right time after a workout or event. Failure to do so regularly will result in muscle problems pretty soon. Beginners begin drinking/eating their protein, then suddenly get bored and skip. Be consistent with your recovery nutrition.” – Professional Soccer Player
- “Classic nutrition mistakes, where to begin? For me it’s all about misunderstanding, like when people hear about ‘carb-loading’ and eat pasta before training or a match. You need to do this correctly or else you’ll just have a full stomach and move like a turtle. Know how much you need to eat and have your diet set. Not all until the last moment.” – Amateur Boxer
- “If you have an event or training more than 2 hours, you’ll need protein for sure. Put some into your pre-event meal and your muscles will thank you.” – Amateur Runner (Middle Distance)
- “I’ll eat later or at the office, that is such a classic nutrition mistake for beginners and even experienced athletes. No, your body wakes up needing something, have a solid breakfast or you’ll pay for it later. Take a little time to feed your body in the morning and you’ll see the effects of your work sooner.” – Professional Soccer Fitness Coach
- “Snacking. It happens, so be clever and listen to your body AND eat healthy, useful snacks. Have something with you, like nuts, almonds are good, or some fruit. If you feel hungry, have a healthy snack. Don’t just stuff a Mars bar in your mouth.” – Professional Ice Hockey Player
- “Eating too quickly, man, how many times did I do this and it’s so wrong. They’ve done studies that people who eat a little more slowly have an off switch, those who eat quickly tend to eat sooner and without reason. Take your time eating.” – Professional Fitness Trainer (link to study here).
- “2 things that I see often. I worked out hard so I can pig out. Or, I am on a diet so I won’t eat before or after a workout. Eat something before you workout, not just an energy drink or tablet, and after have some recovery food and/or drink. And just because you worked up a sweat, it doesn’t mean you end up eating a burger and fries, understand that after a workout is a vital time to refuel your muscles and body.” – Professional Tennis player.
Classic Nutrition Mistakes
Above are the best advice for anyone beginning a training plan and wondering how to be better. In my experience it is better to keep it as simple as possible and get to know your body. In place of sugary “energy” drinks which leave you like a hollowed out shell of a person from the post buzz sugar crash, water and a banana is a natural and healthy option.
Gorging on post-training steak because you’ve heard that red meat is essential for protein, is great, but that side order of chunky chips, pepper sauce and fried onions are going to leave you a little worse off. Grab a small protein shot or shake and you’ll get enough protein to repair and support your muscles.
So the round-up goes back to what the Kaprina LLC Advisory Board always say, Know Your Goal! From this you can organise your diet alongside your training plan and avoid as many of the classic nutrition mistakes that stop you from being the best you should be!