Nutrition for the National Fitness Games
Introducing the NFG
Welcome to the National Fitness Games (NFG), from elite competitor to the novo athlete starting their fitness journey. Developed from the world of CrossFit and functional fitness, the NFG provide opportunities for athletes of all ability; being inclusive rather than exclusive. You can compete as an individual or as the NFG put it, “if you want to go far, go together”. Providing that team experience, competing with family, friends or fellow athletes. Why not visit www.nationalfitnessgames.com and plan your next challenge today!
Train, Eat, Sleep, Repeat
NFG events, plan to test your speed, power, strength and endurance, all at different levels depending on your ability and starting point. Specific training, such as barbell work to team sprints should all be considered, but training needs to accompany the right nutrition regime. The perfect nutrition plan needs to be personalised to you and your goal. We have enlisted the help of Head Nutritionist, Gareth Nicholas, to help set out some of the fundamentals to get you started.
For this type of training and fitness, being strong with a healthy body fat are preferential. Weight loss and building muscle are the two most common goals I come across when working with individuals in the gym environment. Both can be considered together, but one should be more focused than the other. For example, a plan based on weight loss, should be focused on losing body fat whilst trying to maintain muscle mass (adding muscle is just a bonus). It’s actually more likely that you will see a slight drop in muscle mass due to the calorie deficit. This can be avoided or minimised; adding the importance of having the right amount of calories coming from the right nutrients, but I will talk more about that further on.
Daily Calorie Requirement
As a starting point, understanding your calorie requirement, the input versus output, is essential. For this check out our article ‘how many calories should I eat?’ This article provides you with the Harris-Benedict equation. I have used this method with hundreds of people of the years; it provides the perfect line in the sand. At this point, it is all only theoretical and will need refining as you go; turning the theory into practice. Following the steps in the equation you will first determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the amount of calories that your body needs to stay alive. We then add the activity adjustment (the amount of energy you will need to perform exercise) and finally the goal adjustment (percentage change depending on whether you want to lose or gain weight). You now have your daily calorie energy intake. You will also find lots of calculators in google and other apps that can help you with this, for example, Calorie calculator.
Knowing your calorie requirement is great, but we now need to turn those calories into foods, based on their macronutrients to help support your sport and goals. For the NFG style of exercise, I have found lots of client success following a 40:30:30 ratio. That being a daily macronutrient spread that is 40% Carbohydrate, 30% Protein and 30% Fat.
- Carbohydrate - The carbs are slightly lower than traditionally seen in other sports as its common that your exercise length, albeit high intensity, is actually relatively short in duration and not that energy dependent. Body composition is also a big factor in CrossFit sports or similar, and therefore keeping the carbohydrates in check will be important.
- Protein - The Protein is up, probably close to 2-2.4 grams of protein per kg of body weight. This is because muscle mass and exercise recovery are crucial to success. Allowing you to train hard on consecutive days. The harder you train, the greater the reward.
- Fat – Although less of a performance requirement, fat is still essential in a healthy diet and 30% of your daily intake will help keep the calorie content up and help provide energy, especially when the carbs are not there.
Food First Approach
Where you can try to meet your dietary requirements with whole foods. Packing your daily diet with a mixture of protein sources, unsaturated fats and plenty of fruit and vegetables. It goes without saying that you should minimise the unhealthy treats, processed foods, saturated fats and alcohol. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain hydration. A favourable approach for me would be to spread your calorific load across several meals, rather than just having 3 bigger meals per day. Consume 0.25g of protein, roughly 20-30 grams every 2-3 hours will help you to achieve a higher daily intake, but ensure more protein is metabolised and utilised for build muscle. What about when the diet falls short?
Dietary deficiencies are possibly the number one reason for why supplements existing. Other reasons include convenience, treat replacements and performance enhancing nutrients, such as creatine. A protein powder will certainly help whatever your goal and is much more considered a kitchen staple, than purely the supplementary view 10 years ago. I cannot recommend Maximuscle Cyclone more highly for anyone wanting to train and compete at the NFG. Bursting with all the essential performance enhancing nutrients in an all-in-one powder. For more on Cyclone, and to see how it could help you, click here.
Two other products that are worth a mention and certainly are great support for both before and during training or competing. The first has to be Pre-Workout powder, that motivator that could be the difference between going to the gym or doing one more rep. Maximuscle Pre-Workout contains a perfect blend of stimulating ingredients along with performance enhancing creatine. The second product is a BCAA powder – excellent xero sugar intra (during) amino acid support. This tasty supplement will not only encourage you to drink a bit more and maintain hydration but also contain amino acids, the building blocks to protein, providing all-round support.
With everything that has gone on over the last year, there is no better way to get you moving, more healthy and give you and your friends a challenge they won’t forget. Sign up for the next NFG event and unlock your potential. To help you on your journey check out our NFG specific product bundle and let us be your nutrition partner.
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