DIET & FITNESS
We now have masses of scientific information which tells us that athletic performance is closely linked to diet. In other words, the more healthily you eat, the better you are going to perform not only in your training but also in your everyday life such as study or work.
In order to be able to train hard, you need to eat a well balanced diet consisting of 50-60% carbohydrate (eg. pasta, potatoes, beans, cereals, bread, etc) 10-15% protein (meat, fish, eggs and soya substitutes, etc) and 25-30% fat (concentrating more on vegetable and fish oils rather than dairy produce – fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are among the best oily fish to eat and things like olives, avocados and nuts provide useful fats).
Also, guard against dehydration. Pre-hydrate before you come to training and drink the contents of your water bottle during the session and re-hydrate afterwards. As a rough guide, you should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water (rather than fizzy drinks) a day. Not only will this help you train, it will also help you concentrate better at school and work.
Eat FIVE portions of fruit and/or vegetables a day. Remember that half a tin of baked beans counts as one portion. The vitamins contained in these foods not only help make and keep you healthy but assist your body in producing the energy you need for training and competition.
The most efficient source of energy comes from carbohydrate but needs to be eaten well in advance of training and competition to be effective. The easiest way of doing this is to eat regular meals and to plan your meals in such a way that you are not training on a full stomach. Imagine the sugar contained in sweets and fizzy drinks like a firework. There is a big bang (ie. energy) and then nothing soon after. Carbohydrates are more like a lump of coal which burns more slowly (also providing energy) but does this over a longer period of time. In other words, a bowl of pasta eaten the evening before training or competition will have a longer lasting effect than a chocolate bar in the morning.