If you play sport or take part in some kind of sporting activity you probably do so because you enjoy being active, maybe your sport is your passion, your life purpose. But, in my experience, many recreational athletes don’t take their diet as seriously as they could. I have talked about this a lot on social media, but exercise needs fuel, for us humans that fuel is the Calories we get from food and beverages. If you take your sport or exercise performance even semi-seriously and you aren’t taking 24-hour energy balance (Calories in Calories out) into account you might be reducing your performance potential, not to mention harming your health. There isn't an evidence-based practitioner in the world who would say otherwise.
Endurance athletes tend not to do much in the way of strength training, preferring instead to do more of what they enjoy doing the most. That’s fair enough but there are some very specific and relevant adaptations to concurrent strength training for endurance athletes that really ought not to be ignored.
If you are serious about your sport you have to get serious about your diet, not just counting Calories to keep the fat off but understanding the role of each macronutrient and how they benefit your performance, recovery and health. When it comes to sports nutrition the evidence is clear that carbohydrates are god (1). The ISSN recommend 3-5g/kg of body weight for moderately active exercises and 5-8 g/kg for elite level athletes (2) and, in some cases even higher (1,2). Although there is some sparse evidence to imply that a high fat low carb (HFLC) diet may benefit ultra-endurance athletes (9,10). The evidence in favour of HFLC isn’t great to be honest and trials done on cyclists showed that, at best, performance is unaffected and at worst it is negatively impacted. (3,4).
Six-packs are sexy, right? I mean, everyone wants to look good naked, to be proud of their body, to be confident enough to take their shirt off in the summer like the diet coke guy, right? Of-course we do! I don’t usually concentrate too much on the aesthetic side of fitness, there’s enough gym mirror bum selfies on Instagram to keep this solar system in self-image reinforcement for millennia. But, the fact that I am a fitness and nutrition coach seems to provoke people to ask questions along the lines of “if I eat more salads will I get a six-pack?” Or “if I avoid potatoes will I get a six-pack?” It’s a little tiresome to be honest because when people ask these questions they rarely take onboard my advice and, in a lot of cases, don’t even want an answer because they don’t really care enough about themselves to do anything about it anyway. If they did, they’d pay me for that info and then take action.