Athletes have very different considerations and needs when it comes to their nutrition. After all, sports nutrition is a different beast (as I like to say).
That is why nutrition is a key pillar for athlete success. Yet, too often it is overlooked or underrated, leaving athletes wondering why they are struggling.
Specifically, as an athlete, you want to be aware of potential signs of poor fuelling so that you can address the food puzzle piece and stay on the path to reaching your peak potential.
In this blog, I share the 5 common signs you can look for to gauge if you need to look at your fuelling and address some nutrition gaps - in order to fuel better as a sports athlete. Read, learn, implement…your potential depends on it.
5 Signs YouR FUELLING NEEDS WORK
Sign #1: Hitting The Wall With Performance Regularly
If you are finding yourself hitting the proverbial wall during training sessions or games on the regular…then there is a good chance it’s your fuelling (or lack thereof) that is contributing to this.
Your fuelling will directly influence how much performance your body can output during a given workload and for how long. So therefore it is no surprise that if you are lacking carb optimisation or overall nutritional balance, that there would be some side effects.
For a visual representation of this, watch the scene in the movie with Simon Pegg called Run Fatboy Run where they do a humorous take on this phenomenon.
Sign #2: Noticing Slow(er) Recovery and Poor Sleep
Recovery speeds should at worst stay consistent and at best improve over time and with more experience (obviously within limits as there are thresholds when it comes to human physiology). Just the same, sleep should not worsen either if you are doing the right things and eating the “right stuff”.
That is why I want you take a closer look at your approach to nutrition if you are finding yourself feeling prolonged soreness (and not recovering as quickly as you used to) and/or if your sleep quality and quantity is dropping (like it’s hot).
Your nutrition plays a key part in the recovery process and replenishing stores, therefore it is a good idea to look at your food game if this part of the athlete lifestyle has been “found wanting”.
Sign #3: Injuring Yourself More
While injury itself it not usually seen as linked to nutrition (and many times it is not), the fact still stands that an under fuelled and optimised athlete body is a more vulnerable body.
For that reason I want to reinforce the fact that if you are finding yourself getting nick nack injuries more and more or simply don’t feel like your body is adapting to the stressors and demands of your sport…then it could be because your nutrition sucks.
Also, there is the potential that your injuries are due to a lack of mental acquity which has direct links to nutrition inadequacy. Hence the next sign which is that you….
Sign #4: Can’t Concentrate On The Court/Field
Stop only focusing on the physical fuelling side of the coin. Also focus on the mental fuelling aspect as this is very important too.
Too many athletes get to focussed on what the food does for their body and direct, tangible performance but forget that food fuels the brain and mind too.
Why is this important? Well, concentration during a game is vital to making the right decisions which means you are more likely to be a better teammate/athlete and therefore increase chances of winning. It’s a part of performance!
So if you find yourself not being able to concentrate and your mindset just goes out of the window during training or play time…then it’s time to make sure you are fuelling your noggin too.
Sign #5: Experiencing Dizziness When Training/Playing
Fact of the Day: You are NOT supposed to be feeling dizzy when playing your sport. You are in fact not supposed to feel dizzy at any time. It is a BAD sign. So if you are experiencing dizziness there is a good chance it is due to undereating.
One of the biggest reasons I see athletes get dizzy is a lack of calories (and also fasted training/playing too which kind of links into this). The second most common reason is lack of hydration which leads to dehydration - another part of fuelling and nutrition.
So if you are finding yourself dizzy, then time to get busy…fixing up your nutrition errors and filling in those gaps with more calories, better macros, and more darn water.
There you go!
Now you know 5 new signs you can look out for to inform you that your fuelling is going down or needs work. Remember, as an athlete your nutrition is even more nuanced and there are different considerations you need to make.
Fuelling dictates performance. Performance dictates potential. Potential impacts winning. Winning is the athlete way.
So go ahead and take a closer look at your current situation and see if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned 5 points so that you can patch work up your nutrition holes and gaps.
I am curious though…
Do you feel you need expert guidance when it comes to your fuelling, recovery, and nourishment?
Not seeing the body you feel happier, healthier, and more confident in?
Performance lagging like an early 2000’s dial up internet setup?
I may be able to be of assistance.
If you are ready to take your nutrition and body to the next level and elevate your performance in a way that doesn’t make you want to punch your Sports Dietitian, then let’s chat.
I have developed a bespoke nutrition coaching solution that allows you to work with me personally 1:1 to help start bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be with your physique & performance.
In this program, I'll personally coach you using my flexible nutrition system to help you harness the power of calories and macro strategy to regain your competitive edge - think of it as a bespoke nutrition solution that empowers you to eat better to achieve better.
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Brisbane Sports Dietitian and Nutritionist
Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Sports Dietitian & Brisbane Sports Nutritionist. I have 7+ years experience in providing professional nutrition consulting and want to help you learn about the power of flexible nutrition.