Peak Athletic Performance Starts with a Great Diet
This is it. The race you have been preparing for over the past several months. You’re on the final stretch and suddenly, you feel nauseous, dizzy and weak. It’s getting harder to finish.
You’re experiencing the dreaded condition known as bonking. Bonking is not a technical term but rather slang used by athletes to describe a condition when muscles become depleted of glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates in muscles and the liver. Bonking may cause anxiety because you know you do not have the sufficient amount of energy to compete.
If there is such a thing as a bonking expert, it’s Lauren Mitchell, MS, RDN, CSSD, Registered Dietitian at Aspen Valley Hospital. Mitchell is an experienced runner and six-time Boston Marathon qualifier. She helps athletes by creating science-backed nutrition plans to avoid bonking and achieve optimal results.
“How we eat during training can help create metabolic advantages to enhance our training, sustain activity levels, improve recovery and ultimately maximize performance,” Mitchell said. “A race-nutrition plan considers your goals, macronutrient and micronutrient needs, hydration and lifestyle.”
“How we eat during training can help create metabolic advantages to enhance our training, sustain activity levels, improve recovery and ultimately maximize performance.”
— Lauren Mitchell, MS, RDN, CSSD, Registered Dietitian
It’s important to note that a dietary plan shouldn’t start on the day of the competition. Athletes need to follow a specialized strategy month beforehand.
“One mistake many athletes make is only thinking of their nutritional intake the week of the race or competition,” Mitchell said. “Fueling the right way throughout training can make a vast difference.”
Every athlete has specific nutritional needs at different times throughout training. Mitchell recommends scheduling the first nutrition coaching appointment before training begins. Additional sessions should occur one-to-two months into the training program and, finally, one month before the competition.
“When you meet with me, we will assess your total fueling needs based on your energy expenditure activity and nutrient requirements,” Mitchell said. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each plan is based on the athlete’s specific needs and goals.”