Read time: 2min.
By Coach Yan Busset
How to Optimize Your Training with Periodized Nutrition: A Flexible Approach
The Big Picture:
I am not a big fan of a strict periodization training plan (Base, Build, Peak..). I am more an advocate of a life-proof, flexible block periodization approach. However, when I use the term "periodization of nutrition," I mean adapting your calorie intake and macros to your training plan, regardless of the training method you use. It needs to support your daily routine and the type of sessions you have to perform.
Adapting Nutrition to the Training Plan:
The amount of calories you consume should be proportional to your training load. The more you train, the more calories you will need to sustain the level of energy expenditure. This often happens naturally, as increased training often leads to increase hunger. You will think "Daaa Mr Obvious!" But it’s an underestimated cause of performance limiter. For athletes that train a lot, the workload becomes so high that catching up with calorie intake becomes challenging. But, it's important to recognize that during periods of lower volume due to reasons like injuries, long tapering, or post-season breaks, you can't consume as much as when your volume was up. This can be a hard as your appetite might remain high. This approach also promotes metabolic flexibility, enabling you to use fat storage. When asked what role does nutrition play in improving fat oxdation, Physiologist and performance coach Alan Couzens recommends (among other tips) to avoid high level of blood glucose when not exercising*. Weight fluctuations are normal within a season, but they should be controlled to prevent an unhealthy yo-yo effect. Being mindful of food intake during periods of low training volume will ease a smoother transition when the workload increases.
The Daily Nutrition Routine:
As an athlete, consider your food intake having two main functions: nutrition and fueling. I shared this aspect in my newsletter #07 (https://www.tri-coaching-finland.com/post/the-triathlete-blueprint-newsletter-07-weight-loss-a-holistic-approach). Nutrition supports your health and basic macro- and micronutrient needs, while fueling supports your additional workout requirements. When it comes to the timing of your daily food intake, try to align it with your main meals and -most important-avoid eating too late to ensure a better sleep quality. Following the principle of "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar" will help distribute calorie intake when you need it most.
Fueling right before, during, and after longer or more intense workouts has several benefits. It promotes metabolic flexibility by limiting carbs intake outside of these windows, provides the necessary energy for peak performance during workouts, and trains your guts to handle race-day fueling.
Incorporating periodized nutrition into your training plan can optimize your performance and health. By aligning calorie intake with training load and adopting a flexible approach, you can ensure sustainable energy levels, maintain metabolic flexibility, and reduce the risk of unhealthy weight fluctuations. Balancing nutrition's dual roles of supporting health and fueling workouts, along with strategic workout fueling,is key to long terms success.
Thank you for reading and see you next week!
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