Today, we’re looking at the toolbox you have at your disposal. With every performance defect, we have a tool that can fix it.
Although each sport has specific characteristics, one thing remains constant, the desire to maintain work capacity and fight fatigue. When we look at fatigue, we’re looking beyond the muscle as your mental fatigue plays a huge role in your overall performance too.
1) Physical fatigue = decrease in force or power production, i.e. muscular fatigue: peripheral (exercising muscle) and central (central nervous system).
2) Mental fatigue = increased perceived exertion or a loss of skill/cognitive abilities.
Unlike other D2EW posts, today is all about increasing your awareness to what’s possible through nutrition (Burke & Hawley, 2018). For example, if you play rugby and you can’t maintain your performance during repeated efforts (i.e. short burst sprints), this is highly likely due to your inability to fully recover phosphocreatine stores in the 30-120s recovery period. The answer? Simply take creatine as this will increase the size of the phosphocreatine pool, meaning your stores won’t deplete as fast and you can maintain performance for longer.
I often hear that athletes lose concentration towards the end of games/competitions; this largely can be related to their carbohydrate availability – it’s just a fueling issue as they just haven’t consumed an adequate amount of carbohydrates in relation to their sports demands. In addition to this, the brain stores glycogen in something called astrocytes, therefore are liable to decrease and impair mental focus. Again, this is due to a lack of carbohydrates and the inability to maintain blood glucose concentrations to feed the brain.
Likewise, not considering the individual hydration requirements for the type of sport and environmental conditions as this can grossly effect concentration, aerobic capacity and power output.
On top of this, athletes probably aren’t aware that ‘tricks’ such as carbohydrate and caffeine mouth rinsing have central promoting effects, meaning their central nervous system gets a boost and they have surge in performance. I.e. swilling a carb drink for 10 seconds activates the reward centers in the brain which can increase work output.
To be frank, if a very fit and skillful athlete comes to me with physical or mental performance issues, there’s a very high chance its nutrition related. Nutrition on competition or game day is 100% designed to maintain performance….Athletes shouldn’t have too much of a drop off throughout, they should be strong until the end.
If you can resonate with this and know that your nutrition is a limiting factor, my door is always here to help you champ, just drop me a message.