The reason I am blogging about this is to share my approach that I take with each athlete with whom I have contact with throughout the year. It doesn't matter if it is a high schooler or Olympian, my Fuel4mance Optimal Nutrition System, has never failed me and continues to implant proper nutrition concepts and philosophies in athlete's eating programs.
Step 1 in my system includes Foundational Nutrition which highlights stabilizing blood sugar by combining the proper nutrients. I use my FuelTarget and Periodization Plates to educate athletes about which foods have a positive and negative impact on blood sugar and insulin and their respective fat and carbohydrate oxidations.
Once I have a stable nutrition base with an athlete, it is onto step 2, nutrition periodization. For those of you who have followed my sports nutrition work, you know that the topic of nutrition periodization has been like a child to me. I embrace it and love the principle of timing nutrition strategies based on an athlete's physiological goals within each training cycle. My mantra, "eat to train, don't train to eat" becomes the most important educational piece and includes the daily and training (before, during, after) nutrition principles.
The last point in my system, step 3, is supplements. I never discuss supplements with athletes before I cover foundational nutrition and nutrition periodization well and ensure that the athlete knows how to use food to produce positive health and performance results. Supplements are meant to supplement a solid nutrition program and thus, I do not get into the safety, legality or efficacy of supplements until after I know an athlete is ready for this information.
Every athlete can take away some golden nuggets from this blog by implementing nutrition based on a progressive system instead of just closing your eyes and hoping for the best. Start with step 1 and continue your journey to step 3 when you are ready. I know it may be difficult but be patient with the process. Optimal performance does not happen overnight.