It’s no surprise that proper nutrition is essential for athletes, especially those competing at the Olympic level.
But you may not realize the impact that poor nutrition could be having on your everyday performance.
Board certified registered sports dietitian Kate Davis says athletes who are in tune with their nutrition can have an edge over their competitors, but that edge isn’t just limited to Olympians.
“For you and I, the ordinary person, it can be about things like fewer headaches, or better sleep, or just better energy overall,” Davis said.
As the owner of RDKate Sports Nutrition Consulting, Davis works with athletes from middle school to the professionals. She’s currently working with two Paralympic teams.
According to Davis, there are key nutrition lessons that all people can take away from Olympians and Paralympians that will benefit their health.
“The first thing is that food is fuel -- this is what I teach all athletes,” Davis said. “When they’re eating, they’re not just eating to eat -- they’re choosing very wisely.
“If we could all think of food as fuel, I think that could really change your entire perspective about how you choose the food that you put into your body,” she added.
Another lesson that might surprise you? No foods are forbidden.
“The second key thing is that no foods are forbidden,” Davis said. “Even in athletes, all foods have a place in what they’re choosing to have. But, the key part is that the timing is really important.”
Experts like Davis also stress the importance of hydration. Davis says drinking water and being aware of how much you’re consuming, and if it’s enough, is essential throughout the day, not just during exercise.
One of the most important lessons that Davis says people can learn from athletes is the power of consistency.
“These athletes are very consistent with their training, and with their recovery practices, and with their sleeping,” Davis said. “But they’re also very consistent with their nutrition and it is that consistency that gives them success.
“As mere mortals, even picking one or two things that you can be consistent with with your nutrition plan, it’s going to start chipping away at those bigger goals that you have for yourself,” she added.
Davis says many people don’t realize the impact that a poor diet is having on their performance at home, at work and in life in general. Proper nutrition is important, whether you’re going for the gold or just trying to get through the week.
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