Nutrition is often made overly complicated. To maximise your performance you have to make sure that your nutrition is on point, of which just knowing the basics will get you 99% of the way there. In order to get that extra 1% that is when it gets a bit more complicated.
The basics of nutrition can be summed up pretty well by what everyone’s mum told them when they were growing up i.e. eat a healthy balanced diet. It pretty much is that simple.
How Much To Eat
How much you should eat depends on your goals and on your training. We should always be eating enough so that our body has enough calories in order to fuel your body during a workout.
According to My Calorie Counter a 90kg athlete will burn approximately 364 calories for every hour of hammer throw training. This is just an estimate, so don’t take it as gospel. It can be used to show that the longer you train and the higher the intensity the training the more you will need to eat in order to fuel your body. Alternatively if you are going through a period of light training you will require fewer calories.
If you are looking to bulk up or add strength in the gym you will also need to eat more calories than your maintenance calories. This is because your body requires the extra calories in order to build the extra muscle tissue. You shouldn’t go crazy and pig out as this will lead to a large amount of fat gain. You should instead eat in a small calories surplus to ensure most of the weight you gain is via lean tissue.
You should remember that weight gain is always about calories. Eating more calories than you need will result in you gain weight and eating less calories than you need will result in you losing weight.
What You Should Eat
Your daily calorie consumption should be split between protein, carbohydrates and fat. You should ensure you are getting enough of all 3 of these macronutrients as they all have a part to play in a healthy body.
You should aim to hit 80%-90% of these targets through a variety of healthy nutrient dense foods which will allow you to eat some “junk” food if you desire. Eating the majority of your calories via lean meats, fruits and vegetables are going to provide you with the micronutrients, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be healthy and so it isn’t deficient in any one thing.
In terms of supplements, they are entirely optional. They are there to help you fill any deficiencies in your diet. I personally like to use protein powder for convenience. The brand, Myproteinis particularly high quality.
When You Should Eat
Nutrient timing is usually where things can get a bit more complicated. Nutrient timing is much less important than how much and what you are eating; so if you get either of those two wrong you shouldn’t be worrying about timing.
You can experiment a little with the timing of your meals to see what gets you the best performance in your workouts. From my experience some people prefer to train on an empty stomach whilst some find it a necessity to eat beforehand.
In terms of eat post-workout you should eat something in a timely manner, it doesn’t have to be immediate, although pretty much every athlete I have ever known doesn’t have a problem with this. We are a hungry bunch after training.
That pretty much covers the absolute basics of nutrition and covers 99% of what you need to know. A follow up articles will go into these points into greater detail particularly on supplements and what you should be eating.