“I don’t think this is the right age for my child to enroll for a nutrition plan”. This is the common response that my team hears back from parents of young athletes who believe that nutrition has its role when athletes turn pro. My only question to them is “Do you water the roots first or wait for the fruits?”
As a sportsperson, you can’t afford to take your foot off the pedal. The shelf life of an athlete is very small & they need to be right on the money in terms of their training and nutrition. Even champions need nutrition help.
Footballer Eden Hazard who few years back moved to Real Madrid Football Club, Spain from Chelsea Football Club, England, arrivedThis is what Eden Hazard had to sayat pre-season tour 7 kgs overweight. At the heart of the issue is the fact that he was struggling with nutrition compliance.
Both countries have different food cultures, cooking ingredients and methods are different. Players might think that they are eating healthy based on the choices that are available but is it really suitable for them? For example, people of certain genetic type tend to gain more weight upon consuming carbohydrate-rich foods. A simple gene test can help you identify foods that can be beneficial or detrimental for you.
Over the years many athletes have sought for nutritional remedies in their lifestyle in order to perform at their peak & prolong their sporting career. For years, Tennis Ace Novak Djokovicstruggled with his health. His performance affected and he barely could finish a game. Later it was identified that he is gluten intolerant and it was followed by a complete diet overhaul. Gluten and dairy products were off the diet and his career took an amazing turn.
Many athletes are turning to a vegan diet to improve their performance. Indian Cricket team captain Virat Kohliturned vegan recently and in an interview said that his digestive power has increased, is feeling more stronger and `has a calming effect on his temperament. After being diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome in 2011, tennis star Venus Williamsembraced a raw vegan diet on the recommendation of doctors who believed that it would ease some of her symptoms such as severe fatigue and joint pain. For Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton going vegan has two benefits a) he was leaner, fitter, healthier b) no animals get tortured.
Many footballers too are switching to vegan diet. Taking a quote from one of the articles published on goal.com
Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has been particularly vocal about his decision to become a vegan, explaining that he spoke with the boxer David Haye, who also follows a vegan diet, about the benefits.
“For me the most important thing is that inflammation in my body after games and the speed that my body recovers compared to before,” Bellerin told The Players’ Tribune.
“I’ve always had little problems in my ankles when I played very hard games, they’d get very inflamed and stiff.
“Now I don’t even have to strap them to play anymore. It doesn’t just make a difference in your body but I strongly believe that with what we’re doing to the earth [it’s] paying back the earth too.”
Footballer Jack Wilshere said “I feel that I look better, I have certainly lost a bit of weight, and am leaner. I am probably fitter as well,” Wilshere told the Evening Standard. “I feel sharper and quicker on the pitch. I feel like I can last longer.”
NBA Athlete Wilson Chandler in an interview had said:
“Eating a vegan diet has changed my everyday living. I sleep better, I wake up in a better mood, I recover faster, I ’m not so inflamed, not so achey”
At some stage of their career these athletes realized how their body functions & took control of what they are putting in it for better performance. What if athletes can be taught about this at a very young age? They will be in more align with their body. They will be more aware about the specific requirements, they will be eating scientifically. They will be eating for performance.
Ryan Fernando is an Award-winning celebrity Sports Nutritionist with 2GUINNESS world record and 2 Olympic medals under his belt. His client list include Olympic wrestler Sushil Kumar, cricketer Shikhar Dhawan & bollywood superstars Aamir Khan & Abhishek Bachchan. He is Chief Nutritionist at QUA Nutrition Signature Clinics.
In his book Serve to Win, Novak Djokovic has quoted about change in his diet as: “I had to learn to listen to my body. Once, I did everything changed. You could call it magic. It felt like magic.