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As a coach, do your participants tend to ask you questions about nutrition? And if so, what are some common things that you get asked?
I can't recall ever having been asked about nutrition. But we do give recommendations for nutrition for major competitions, international travel etc.
Thanks for your response Jacob, that's great
I think I started a similar conversation a year ago as some of the athletes that I was coaching at the time was asking what foods should they be eating during, after competition and training the only information I could give them is the information I was given from my coach which was a Mars bar and a large plate of pasta which is what I ate, however, this also led me to become extremely underweight and with an eating disorder, in my eyes I didn't know I was underweight I thought this was the normal weight to be as a middle-distance runner. Years down the line I really didn't want to give my athletes the same information as I didn't want to put them in the same situation as myself. I decided to take the plunge and do an online Sports food and nutrition course. In completing the course I gained knowledge for myself and was able to provide information for athletes to better support them. Personally, I wished I was given this knowledge from my coach as I probably would never have suffered from an eating disorder and wouldn't have a poor relationship with food.
Some of the questions asked
" do you think these protein bars are good to eat?"
" What cabs do you think I should be eating?"
" What is protein?"
" What should I eat before and after my race?"
Since completing the course I'm better able to answer these questions and give the information which they can choose to take or leave.
Which online course did you choose?
Thanks Emma, that's really interesting to hear. And I wonder of your coach had passed on that info to you, because he/she had been taught the same from his/her coach. Yes low energy availability can be common in athlete and this along with eating disorders is something that is being spoken about more openly now (or more than what is was).
Great to hear you went on to do a course. Which course did you end up doing?
And thanks again for the example questions you are asked.
I haven’t been asked by the players I coach as such.
I haven’t been asked by the players I coach as such.
The sport / activity will alter the advice needed.
For example personally I know I need to eat differently ready for a cricket match than I do for a 3 to 4 hour bike ride.
I have found it necessary to plan far more for cycling. Largely because I’m out on the roads & have to be mostly self sufficient, compared with staying within the confines of a cricket ground which will, in the majority of cases, have a bar or ready accessibility to drinks and snacks if need be.
Sorry if that sounds obvious. I found the Science in Sport website really useful for cycling advice. Given there tie ins with football, swimming & running I would expect they will offer advice for those sports too.
Thanks for Roger, I completely hear where you are coming from. Absolutely all sports will need different advice. I suppose I was getting at whether participants are likely to ask their coach for advice regardless of the sport. Many thanks again
Yep. They ask me about nutrition prior to Ironman races or marathons. They don't usually ask about nutrition for training.
That's great Barb, thanks for responding!
Great Topic for discussion. I have provided Senior Athletes guidance on Nutrition and now passing on useful and relevant information to Juniors , and to Parents.
I follow the UKA guidelines and good books as well as useful material for coaches to follow .
This topic was discussed at a regional workshop last year and now try to run sessions for University Athletes to follow , run by the UKA Zena Weeks.
M.Pillai - UKA ESM Sprints Coach
That's very interesting. Do you find that parents engage with this?
I find some parents do take part and encourage healthy eating at home , sadly some do not and leave it to the coaches to provide guidance along with the School ,Colleges and Universities .
where the focus should be in the home environment first , then extend beyond. I feel it is a complex issue that has many angles eg socio - economic factors, peer pressure , social media .
Yes I agree it is definitely a complex issue. Great to get your perspective as a coach though
Definatley recommend utilising the nutrition information on ucoach as advised above.
But also its vitally important to know your limits, and use professionals when you can, a dietician can deal with it much better than most coaches unless its something you really research and are confident with
Thanks Stewart, absolutely agree. I'm a registered Nutritionist and the idea is to develop some nutrition content for coaches and perhaps parents (going via the coach), but yes I do agree that everyone should work within their scope of practice and consult a nutrition professional when required. Great to hear about where coaches currently get their info form too :)
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