We train hard, we suffer the session, leave dents in the road and believe that persistent, patient, committment to the task is all that it takes to slowly wear down the ultimate goal.
Training must be accompanied by a sound strategy-based nutrition plan (aka smart decision making around every training session) to reap the rewards.
(Never mind the other pieces such as sleep, recovery, complementary conditioning work, mind training, and stress management skills).
Each session has a purpose, right? An outcome that you seek based on some variation of training type, intensity and duration (i.e. zone 2 steady state run, big gear bike intervals, threshold interval sets in the pool and so on).
Your nutrition also needs to sync in with this to support that desired training adaptation.
This is called nutrition periodisation.
Different training sessions benefit from tweaks to the macro-nutrient profile of the meals consumed before or after, changes to food volume, and even ancillary key nutrients that support the specific adaptive processes driven by the training session.
For example, aerobic training benefits from less carbohydrate availability for ‘key’, and I emphasise ‘KEY’ training sessions.
Big gear work on the bike from good pre-training fuelling and the post-session recovery should be built on adequate amino acid supply.
Aerobic training benefits from nutrients that support the cardiovascular system, cell membrane and mitochondrial function.
Lactate producing sessions benefit from foods that encourage a more alkaline pH, and encourage circulation, and so it goes relative to all the different training scenarios.
We can tweak the timing, quantity and structure of the meal to optimise the (desired) training adaptations. This is called nutrition periodisation; and the goal is improved metabolic, cardiovascular, inflammation and endocrine (and hence performance) outcomes.
There is so much that can be done with your food and fuelling to optimise your training bang for your buck;exciting eh?
Don’t waste your chances to get more from your efforts.