If you want to train like an athlete, you need to EAT (and recover) like one.
I see the all too common narrative. You want to run 20-30 miles a week. Your peloton classes breath life into you. You hit the 5am CrossFit WOD 3 times a week. You are skipping sleep to get in that 6th day of fitness. You stress about finding the time to make all your fitness fit.
Yet- you haven’t made progress in weeks, MONTHS even. What gives?
If you are training (volume and intensity) like a top level athlete, you need to EAT and kind of live like one too. What does that mean? Well, it means you are doing A LOT (maybe too much) and you might want to consider either really evaluating this list below and how you can apply some of these things to your day OR consider cutting back a bit more. Sometimes, less is more.
Are you eating enough? This has to be number 1. CALORIES ARE KING. In order to build muscle, get faster, get fitter, have the energy to do all the things you want and THRIVE, you need literal energy- and thats your food intake. Under eating means under recovering, it means down regulated hormones and metabolism, it means higher potential for injury and it will eventually mean metabolic adaptation and slow/no/reverse progress. Eat enough. Check out most any TDEE calorie calculator to find a starting point, here’s a good one to try: https://www.mindpumpmedia.com/tdee-calculator
Hows your protein intake? Want to recover and replenish those muscles? Protein, bro. ACTIVE people NEED at least 0.8g-1.0g of protein per pound of weight. This requires extra effort to get it in, but this is literally how your body repairs your muscles after breakdown (psst- fitness is essentially the breakdown of your muscles).
Are you cooking your own meals? If you eat out 5-6 times a week, thats 5-6 Times you dont know the quality of foods, the true amounts, the added and hidden oils, the serving sizes that dont align with your goals. The best way to control your food? Be in control and cook at home as often as possible.
Sleep. THIS IS THE MAGICAL PILL MORE PEOPLE NEED. Sleep is where you literally recover. Production of human growth hormone to grow muscles, production of cortisol inhibitors to help manage that stress (because even fitness is a stressor on your body), and general recovery happens in your sleep. Aim for 7 hours. New parents, just do your best, I see you!
Movement. MOVEMENT is not FITNESS. I am talking steps. Slow walking. General activity is a great tool to help get blood flowing which helps with recovery. On rest days, dont try and crush 20k steps. But you dont have to be a potato either.
This is a really in depth topic. I could talk for days about cycling your nutrition and fitness, about nutrition timing, about carbohydrate and fat amounts, about intra-workout nutrition. LOTS of sexy things. But ultimately, THE thing to remember here is that if you are going to train hard and lift big you need to also eat big to help recover andddd get those hard earned results 🙂