Eat Your Way to Better Performance

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It’s impossible to out-train a poor diet, according to sports nutritionist Cliff Harvey. Cliff has worked with some of New Zealand’s top athletes, Olympic medallists and world champions.  We find out how to turn food intake into an effective base for peak performance.

“Taking in plenty of fuel without giving your body the right vitamins and minerals is like filling your car’s gas tank but removing the spark plugs. These micronutrients reduce the damage associated with modern life and enable the creation of energy, hormones and neurotransmitters,” said Cliff.

Factors like chronic stress draining energy reserves; soil mineral depletion; a longer food chain and a lack of variety in the diet, can all affect cyclists’ performance on and off the road. In fact, Cliff suggests that many of us could be ‘starving on a full stomach’ from a nutritional point of view.

Eating six or more serves of a range of vegetables every day helps to ensure a nutrient-rich diet.

Boost protein to maintain low body fat

However for athletes, Cliff recommends the addition of protein, particularly after training, to help speed recovery and support tissue repair.

“When choosing a protein powder, check the label carefully,” he advises. “The fewer ingredients the better.  Look for 20-25 grams per serve from a high quality natural protein.

“The benefits of upping the quantity/quality of protein in our diet are compelling. A protein-rich diet boosts our metabolism, builds muscle and helps maintain low body fat.  This will keep your power-to-weight ratio high, boosting strength and endurance.”

Cliff also recommends eating two or more serves of berries daily to gives your body a rich source of micro-nutrients and antioxidants. “No-one can maintain the perfect diet constantly, so using a multi nutrient like Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff will fill any gaps in your diet.  This 75+ ingredient powerhouse provides a nutritional insurance policy.”

Eating organic wherever possible will add secondary nutrients. For good nutrition on the run Cliff’s final piece of advice is to grab a super-smoothie.  “Adding Clean Lean Protein powder to berries, super-foods, healthy fats like coconut cream and natural carbohydrates can offer a convenient, nutrient-dense meal option.”

As published in NZ Road Cyclist magazine, November 2014