I really enjoy the way I feel and perform when my nutrition is on point. I’ve tracked and managed it for so long now, I know exactly what foods give me the sustained energy that I need to perform each day, and those that just give an instant gratification (and delayed issues later). I’m not so over-joyed about the process of making said food, however. And, unfortunately for me, if I am not prepared with my food, I end up eating things that are easy to grab and don’t necessarily give me the sustained energy I need to get through the day.
So, how do I ensure I have nutritional options readily available at any time of day? I pre-prepare my food for not only the day, but the week. Every week. All meals – that’s breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Dinner, we (well…my husband mostly) prepare fresh each night to enjoy a meal together with our daughter after training. But by all means, this too can be pre-prepared.
Why pre-prepare meals?
For the hour or so it takes me each Sunday afternoon, it gives me hours in productive time during the week by not doing them separately throughout the day, or worse, getting caught out with nothing and having to go buy something. Once prepared, I pack each meal into containers and store them in the refrigerator – I literally just grab what I need for the day and go. All that’s left then is to actually eat them.
And if doing the prep yourself still feels like a chore, there are so many meal services out there these days, it’s like your own personal smorgasbord of options readily available at the click of a button.
So, why am I talking about my food when this is supposed to be about high performance? Simple. One of the key elements to sustained high performance is fueling your body well and consistently. I often get asked how I manage to fit everything in. My answer is that, as well as being structured and planned, I fuel my body for optimal energy.
These days, it’s so easy to think of our nutrition in terms of weight control that we forget food is about giving our body the nutrients it requires to be at its best. Symptoms of fatigue, memory loss, lack of concentration and feeling “brain dead” are increasingly common in a busy, overscheduled society, yet good nutrition is often overlooked as possibly the easiest way to help prevent and manage such symptoms. Too frequently, stimulants such as caffeine and sugar are relied upon to get us through times of low energy, which is the worst thing you can do.
What “diet” should I chose?
Honestly? None. I’ve purposefully avoided using the term “diet” until this point (you may have noticed me referencing “nutrition” a lot) as your nutritional intake should be a sustainable lifestyle choice that you enjoy. Unfortunately, over the years society has created negative connotations around the word “diet”, associating the term with reduced calorie intake and removing foods from your consumption. This approach, we now know, sometimes produces results but often creates unrealistic expectations and sets the individual back further than when they began.
Instead, focus on a nutrition plan that helps to manage your energy levels and support optimal brain function. Remember, the goal is to increase your performance, whatever that desired performance outcome may be. As this will be different for everyone, so too should be your nutrition requirements. What I eat in a day will be totally different to the next person. I am living my life and they are living theirs, our body make up is different and foods will react differently for each of us as they are consumed and broken down. The focus needs to be on our individual performance and what fuel we need to deliver that.
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