Nutritional plans are an important part of any athlete’s training regimen and can be extremely helpful when used correctly. But what exactly is a nutritional plan, and how can it help you maximize your performance?
What is a Nutrition Plan?
A nutritional plan is a set of guidelines that outlines the number of calories and macronutrients you should be consuming each day. It also includes specific food quantities and meal timing.
This plan is usually set by a Sports Nutritionist or Dietician and is tailored to the individual’s goals and needs.
Why have a Nutrition Plan?
Having a plan set out for you can be extremely helpful, as it takes away the stress and pressure of having to make your own planning and “guessing” yourself. It also saves you time, as you don’t have to spend hours researching and calculating your own nutritional needs.
This allows an athlete to focus on their performance and recovery as opposed to worrying about whether they are consuming enough energy and the right type of foods.
Optimal energy availability (OEA) is an important factor for athletes, as it refers to the amount of energy available to the body after accounting for the energy used in exercise and daily metabolic functions. OEA makes sure the body has enough energy to function optimally and helps ensure that an athlete can perform at their best. OEA also helps ensure that athletes are healthy and less likely to suffer from fatigue or injury.
Working out an athlete’s OEA can be a tricky process and is not 100% precise however it is an important part of an athlete recovery process and critical for fuelling high performance physical activity.
Nutrition plans are a great way for those beginning their journey into nutrition too. It allows them to become more informed and make healthier choices.
Having a plan mapped out can make the process much easier and less overwhelming.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to follow a nutritional plan perfectly. If you’re trying your best, then “close enough” is usually good enough.
This is why it can be helpful to use a nutritional tracker, which allows you to use flexible food choices while still hitting your set calorie and macro targets.
The “best” nutritional plan is one that you can follow consistently and one where you are also motivated to do so.
So, it is important that a nutritional plan that is set out for a beginner includes plenty of foods that they enjoy and has allowances to let them be flexible with food choices if they decide to add in more options.
Nutritional plans can be extremely helpful when used correctly. They can help you maximise your performance, save time, and take away the stress of having to make your own planning. They are also very helpful for beginners who are looking to learn more about nutrition and make changes to their overall nutritional habits.