The One Essential Nutrition Principle you can Learn from Michael Phelps

Nutrition is perhaps the most-often-forgotten crucial element of top performance. Nutrition just doesn’t feature in the stories that we regularly hear about winning or being a champion. We were told that you just have to do the work. You just have to train and want it bad enough.

Social media now gives us almost 24 hour access to our top sporting champions. For the first time we are getting to see behind the curtain and learn what it takes to consistently produce high performance. Last week Michael Phelps carried the marks from ‘cupping’ (a recovery technique) and images of him between training sessions eating a meal in an ice bath appeared on social media.

Just doing the work isn’t enough anymore. Our sporting champions are showing us that recovery and adequate fuel are essential to top performance. The most basic of those being to eat often.

Nutrition, like any complex problem, is best solved by splitting it into many parts. Eating small meals and more often are twin strategies and must be implemented at the same time. Increasing your meal frequency is a logistical problem that is exacerbated by back-to-back meetings. It requires you to devote a predetermined amount of time — perhaps a little more that usual — to eating each day.

Not having enough time is not an accurate description of this problem. If you find yourself skipping meals what you lack is not time, what you lack is organisation.

The objective is to prevent the uncontrollable hunger created by low blood sugar. Eating small portions more frequently also ensures that the executive doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of mental alertness.

To keep to a nutrition plan, and to perform like a world-class executive, you need to keep your mind sharp. Ready to make the right decisions when presented with enticing options. When your blood sugar is low your emotional attachment to food or the easy option will take over. Eat small and often to keep your rational mind in control.

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