Any athlete seeking success in sport should be aware of the importance of nutrition to performance in both training and competition. A well-balanced, nutritious diet is essential for maximum performance in any sporting activity.

The ideal training diet should be high in carbohydrate (60% of total daily calorie intake), low in fat (<25%) and contain moderate amounts of protein (15%). No one food contains all the nutrients we need, so in order to obtain a balanced diet it is necessary to eat a variety of foods from the six main food groups, listed below:

  • Group 1: Cereals, pasta, rice, bread, potatoes
  • Group 2: Fruit
  • Group 3: Vegetables
  • Group 4: Meat, fish, poultry, beans, pulses, nuts, eggs
  • Group 5: Dairy products
  • Group 6: Fats, oils, sweets

To achieve the correct balance of nutrients, imagine that you are building a pyramid from these food groups. Group 1, the cereal and starches, forms the basis of the pyramid and so you need to eat most of your daily food from this group. Pasta, rice, potatoes, bread and cereals should form the centre of each meal. Not only are these foods high in carbohydrate, but are also a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre, especially the wholegrain varieties. Groups 2 & 3, fruit and vegetables, form the next layer of the pyramid.

A wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and their juices should be consumed daily. Bananas, apples and dried fruit make great portable snacks to take to a training session and are a valuable source of carbohydrate energy for exercise. Groups 4 & 5, meat, other protein foods and dairy products, should be eaten in smaller amounts. Choose lean cuts if meat and use low fat dairy products such as semi-skimmed milk and reduced fat spreads. Vegetarians will need to combine other protein rich foods in the right amounts to ensure that they are getting enough high quality protein in their diet.

Nutrition at each stage

We have broken it down for you

Nutrition before, during and after training


Nutrition for preparing for a competition


During Competition
Nutrition for athletes whilst at an event


Recovery Foods
Nutrition for athletes to aid recovery after an event


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