What it’s like Part One…….A view from the inside enhancing performance through nutrition
When working with an athlete there are numerous variables that both the athlete and I must account for. This is especially the case when I work with a pro athlete, or in this case the Pro Strongman.
I will often begin by doing some research on the athlete. I conduct an interview with the client to learn more about where they’ve been, and where they’re going. For me, knowing an athlete’s background on their eating habits and supplement use is a key component on how I structure the diet for them.
It’s like this…I can have an engine will all the performance boosters known to man that goes 200 miles an hour….but if I drop it in an 1987 ford Escort, I won’t get the performance I would expect out of such an engine, the car’s not ‘ready’ for it, and thus all that horsepower is wasted.
The same holds true for my athletes. It’s all about progressions, and all about getting the ‘car’ prepared to handle the ‘horsepower’ it’s capable of producing.
This is probably my favorite step of the diet process, this ‘discovery’ period. As the client’s background unfolds, it helps me craft the blueprint of what will ultimately become their diet system.
One of the questions I’ll never ask a client is how many calories they eat.
I don’t care.
They shouldn’t care.
I care about nutrients, and specific macronutrients, with their nutrition. If I need a client to gain or lose more, I adjust the macros, as for me, the macros are the key to performance and body composition. After the client’s background is set, I next go over the workout schedule and structure of each day’s planned agenda. Someone working out 3 days a week doing all events has very different needs than someone doing 5 days of gym/accessory work plus events on Saturdays. Then there’s timing the food intake to line up for maximum energy assistance and recovery, and I have to account for max effort days for individuals on that type of program.
Keep in mind this information is simply to draw up the base diet from which the athlete will progress on their journey to enhanced performance through nutrition.
It’s often heard you need a strong foundation on which to build, and that holds true for nutrition. When laying out the system for the client, I also have to keep in mind what contest we are addressing.
Specific contests have specific events, and thus the athlete needs to constantly evolve to match up with the events of the contest. This is probably my greatest asset to the client. Prepping the athlete to be incredibly strong in static lifts will do little to assist that athlete in a contest involving numerous medleys and max rep events. In addition, the clients who come to me with grip issues often have specific nutrition or supplementation needs I have to address in order to correct or enhance that for them.
As I work with numerous pro athletes, often over the course of a year we will prep for upwards of 10 contests, and it’s not unusual for that client to have 10 different diets systems addressing the needs of each contest. And each of these systems containing ‘phases’ or adjustments as we ramp up into the show to ultimately ‘peak’ the last training week prior to the show, similar to peaking a strength cycle in a training program. When people are curious as to how a pro athlete can perform at the level they do, over that many contests, it’s because the athlete has invested substantial time, effort, and finances in achieving those types of results. Like any ‘business’…being a pro athlete involves substantial investment on many levels to be the best.
If it were easy, everyone would be pulling 1100 pound Hummer Tire Deadlifts and loading 530+ pound stones.