Each athlete’s needs are unique because of the demands they place upon their bodies and minds (we’ll stay out of the “spirit” in this discussion, as we’re only reviewing what’s been scientifically studied). The main areas of concern are training hard enough, recovering fast enough, and insuring that you’re “healthy” as well as “athletic”. There’s a school of thought that overtraining doesn’t exist…just under-sleeping and under-eating. While that might be a little bit of an overstatement, there is some truth to the concept. Most of your progress from training is made between training sessions…not during the session. If you take in enough nutrients during your waking hours and get a lot of quality sleep, you’ll insure that you maximize recovery to the greatest extent possible.
As a side note: There are specialists that study the sleep side of the equation, so you may want to spend some time researching that field if you haven’t looked into it. We’ve seen quite a few athletes who train and eat properly, but have horrible sleep patterns. They usually see a HUGE improvement when they address this realm. Two products that we’ve seen work well are the Lark and the Zeo sleep monitors.
When it comes to diet, this is the area that we specialize in. When combined with nutritional blood/urinalysis, simple dietary adjustments become even more powerful. The meals can be prepared to match your EXACT nutritional needs…not just a one-size-fits-all “athlete” program. The micro- and macro-nutrients within the meals will be set to the unique needs of the athlete. For example, if an athlete needs 38 grams of protein, 74 grams of carbohydrate, and 11 grams of fat per meal, we’ll prepare meals meeting that exact specification. In addition, the ingredients utilized will be adjusted to make up for the deficiencies detected through the blood testing (if available). If someone needs walnuts to insure they receive enough Alpha Linolenic Acid (an Omega 3 fatty acid), their meals will incorporate more walnuts than an athlete who doesn’t have this need. Obviously, all of this technology has to be incorporated in some manner that tastes better than cardboard. It doesn’t matter how nutritious a meal is, nobody is going to eat it if it doesn’t taste good! If you already eat healthy on your own, you won’t have any issue with the meals we serve. If you’re eating at a fast food establishment on a daily basis, there might be a little adjustment to the taste of “healthy food”.
Among the performance characteristics we look to improve in an athlete, the field of recovery is one of the highest priorities. The carbohydrates that you take in immediately after a workout can significantly influence the next workout, so proper planning is a must if you’re aiming to have Elite recovery ability. The type and quantity of protein that you take in before bed can influence what amino acids are available to your muscles during the night. You want these amino acids to be available when your body goes to adapt to the demands that were placed upon it during the training session of the day. The vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients that you took in during the day are equally important. Remove some of the nutrients essential to the repair of tendons/ligaments or those required to build muscle and you’ll find that your progress will be seriously affected. By insuring that proteins are properly complemented, you’ll minimize the load on the kidneys and insure that a large number of the amino acids from beans, rice, and vegetables are put to good use (in a manner similar to animal protein). Protein complementing is done automatically in our software, as taking in incomplete protein doesn’t do an athlete any good.
Many athletes also notice the benefit of eating a more alkaline diet, as the loads placed on the lungs (where the pH balance of the body is controlled) are minimized. Some athletes even find that pH buffering takes place to a small extent, allowing you to push further before you hit your lactate threshold. From a health perspective, there’s a lot to be said about the benefits of eating more alkaline foods. These benefits have more to do with overall health/longevity than preventing you from catching a cold, but nobody wants to be the “former athlete” who dies at an early age.
When it comes to supplementation, there’s a tendency to either avoid them entirely or take everything on the shelf with the hopes that something is going to help. The proper perspective is to keep supplementation to a minimum, while making sure that the supplements that are taken are a) supplements that are actually needed and b) from a source that is trusted to be free of anything that would cause an athlete to test positive for performance enhancing drugs. Nutritional blood/urinalysis is an exceptionally elegant way to determine what each individual’s needs are. The testing reveals exactly which nutrients are depleted, as well as heavy metal toxicities, gut microbial imbalances, neurotransmitter production concerns, as well as food sensivities that could be using up valuable resources in the production of unwanted antibodies. Feel free to contact us if you have specific questions about this type of testing and we will answer your questions ASAP.