How can nutrition and recovery strategies affect performance?

While athletes are encouraged to follow the basic principles of healthy eating (including following the Dietary Guidelines for Australians (external website) and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (external website)) there is, a need for athletes to increase their overall kilojoule intake to compensate for the additional amount of energy used in training and performance. The increase in the amount of energy required varies according to the activity being undertaken.

By understanding the dietary needs of athletes and planning eating strategies for before, during and after activity, individuals can enhance their recovery and maximise physiological responses from training, and in turn, improve their performance. Athletes also need to be conscious of their fluid intake and consider the place of supplementation and recovery strategies in their training programs.

Nutritional considerations
An athlete must ensure that their diet is adequate enough to meet performance needs. Different sporting activities require different levels of energy and nutritional needs.

Many athletes and coaches believe that a balanced diet alone is not enough for optimal performance. If an athlete uses extra food substances in their diet it is referred to as diet supplementation. There are many types of supplements available to athletes and they vary greatly in terms of their impact on performance.

Recovery strategies
Recovery is an integral part of effective performance which focuses on identifying strategies to minimise and manage fatigue from training and competition. These can include physiological, neural, tissue damage and psychological strategies.

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