Written by Ollie Matthews
For the hybrid athlete, nutrition is equally as important as the training for optimal performance.
Performance being the key terminology here.
An athlete who aims to perform in both strength and endurance should never be following a nutritional program whereby they are in a hypocaloric state.
The focus is not weight loss.
The hybrid athlete should not be spending time stipulating over meal timings, hormone levels, macronutrient breakdowns, when the most crucial factor for them is their caloric intake.
The experienced athlete will be well aware of their nutritional requirements, having practiced them now for their training history, however, for the purpose of this article let’s focus on those starting from scratch and looking for some direction.
The word on everyone’s lips in the gym is protein!
“How much protein do you eat bro?”
Protein is required for every cell in the body. It is an important building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Gym goers believe that in order to build more muscle, they should eat more protein.
This is a myth!
The only way to build more muscle is to exercise and in order to fuel that exercise, increasing protein amounts is not the answer.
Due to clever marketing from supplement companies, athletes are coaxed into believing they are not consuming enough protein and therefore should be buying their products.
Whilst this may be true for a beginner that is starting to become aware of macronutrients, because in my experience many tend to consume under their protein requirement for the day initially, this can be amended easily through diet and tracking.
But a hybrid athlete needs to base their nutritional requirements on performance, and not weight loss/maintenance where protein will be a key factor for satiety and muscle retention.
To perform optimally, an athlete needs to fuel their body and protein is the least efficient fuel source.
Protein consumption, whilst important for muscle repair, shouldn’t compromise the main macronutrient required for fueling the body for performance – carbohydrates.
1-1.25g/kg/day is the recommended baseline for protein consumption for the hybrid athlete.
Going higher than this is fine, but if energy levels are low and you are struggling with recovery, I would recommend that you opt for a little more carbohydrate in your day and lower the protein amounts.
Excess protein will be excreted by the body if it is not required. The majority of amino acids consumed past the point of requirement will be converted to ammonia, then to urea and then passed out in urine.
Any remaining amino acids are used as an inefficient energy substrate.
If you are still uncertain of reducing protein amounts to less than what is typically expected in the gym, take a burns victim as an example. Huge tissue trauma requires medical intervention and nutritional aid to promote healing and recovery. Damaged organs, including skin, need to be replenished. The medical team will ensure that the patient will have an increase in protein to promote this and they are typically given 1.5-2g/kg/day, sometimes peaking at 2.5-3g/kg/day depending on the age of patient and extent of injury.
In order to be at one with your chosen discipline, you need to nail your nutrition.
Whilst it is individual and a number of variables should be considered, the concept is universal in the sport.
You must your meet macronutrient requirements for optimizing performance, not hindering, then you will be sure to be on the road to a very successful.