Are you 35 yrs of age or older
and athletic? Then you are a master level athlete!
Surveys suggest that most master athletes do NOT consume sufficient
energy to support needs. They have a tendency to supply needed energy
AFTER it is needed mainly because they are poor planners with many
work, home and sport commitments or they are restricting their intake
to achieve too fast a rate of weight loss leading to disordered eating
patterns. Training on too few calories can lead to chronic fatigue,
poor immune function, loss of muscle mass and decreased performance.
Practice makes perfect
Your digestive system (as well as your muscles) needs some training
to be able to keep you well fueled during your training sessions (and
competition). If you want to be able to eat and drink comfortably
during your marathon (or longer) event, you need to be practicing
that in training. Exercising hard while eating and drinking are not
things that your body would normally prefer to do at the same time
– but just like skiing fast, eating is a learned skill that requires
the same amount of practice and attention to detail. If you plan on
consuming 200-300 calories an hour and 1 litre of fluid (for example)
during your race you need to practice consuming both of these in your
training. Don't skimp on fluid or calories during training!
So why do so many of us train on too few
calories (and fluids)?
All it takes is getting dropped by the pack when the pace picks up
or on a hill climb during training and it's easy to start thinking
that “if I just lost a couple of pounds I would be able to stay with
the pack". The problem with trying to diet while training is
that the lack of calories and specific nutrients (especially carbohydrates)
wreaks havoc on your muscles and immune system and makes you prone
to injury. Taking in far fewer calories than what your body requires
may result in the body attacking it's own tissues, resulting in a
a weakened muscular and immune system. Training, building muscle and
following a sound diet are the best way to lose weight because it
comes off slowly.
How much do you need to eat?
- Track your intake for three days – don’t change anything. If you
are able to answer yes to the following questions then you are likely
- Can you train without undue fatigue (i.e. you can train well throughout
each training session)?
- Are you maintaining your body composition (i.e. not losing muscle
or gaining body fat?)
- Do you have a fast recovery between training sessions (i.e. you
are energized for each training session)?
- Do you have optimal biological functioning (e.g. regular menstrual
periods for women, able to sleep well, concentrate on the tasks
at hand, etc)?
Is there an absence of health & performance
If you answered YES to any of these questions then there are changes
you can make to your eating patterns, food choices and timing of food
intake to improve your health, your ability to train well and achieve
peak performance in your sport.
Sign up for a sport nutrition workshop
with Peak Performance and learn how to balance out your eating plan
to meet your energy and nutrient needs.
Beth’s words of wisdom for optimal health and performance for master
- Get enough sleep
- Eat snacks before and after working out
- Rehydrate, refuel, rest up for recovery
- Train properly
- Keep a sport nutrition checklist
Check out the Peak Performance Sport