You Can't Out Train a Bad Diet
Updated: Dec 30, 2021
This is a fundamental concept of sports coaching and nutrition more generally. You can't expect to perform at an optimal level without correctly fuelling your body to complete the required training without incurring injuries. And it's not just about energy intake - important as that is, its also about the macro content of your food and the timing of those nutrients.
But, you know what?
Nor can you out-supplement a bad diet or a poor lifestyle regime.
Its so easy to get caught up in the marketing for these products and supplements, too often, are the first port of call for an athlete, Sadly, they can also be recommended too early by some trainers.
Supplements will never adequately compensate for a poor diet. They are best used as the final consideration of any sports nutrition plan and should be introduced to finesse that plan and get an athlete that extra few percentage points of improved performance.
Supplementation will not compensate, long-term, for poor basic nutrition, elevated stress, insufficient sleep, skipped training, lack of recovery or other performance gaps.
With my athletes, we initially look at their own personal nutrition (have they got the fundamentals right?) before progressing onto their performance nutrition when we consider the details of their schedules and how best to support training and maximise recovery. Everyone is different and, whilst some may benefit from supplementation at this point, the vast majority report their improvements are such that they have little or no need of them.
Most of us can get the nutrients we require from whole foods and, whilst there are exceptions, supplementation should really be the icing on the cake - the sprinkles on your ice-cream.
They are the final fine-tuning to your performance. Why introduce that too early and miss the true benefits when you're at a level when you will actually need them?