Top 3 Mistakes of Nutrient Timing

sport nutrition Jul 01, 2024


When you are creating your personalized nutrient timing system for training and racing, be sure to avoid these top mistakes.


#1: Eating too much the day before.  

Carb loading for days or weeks before a race are out. That’s old school. Is eating more carbohydrates important before a race or bigger training session? It depends on so many factors that it is impossible for me to address all of them here. What I will say is that if you are thinking you need more carbs before a training session or race, you only need to do this 24-36 hours beforehand.


#2: Under-consuming calories during training or racing. 

There seems to be a movement by athletes to either under-consume or over-consume calories during training and racing. There is no “badge of honor” in not consuming enough calories during training. It will merely expose you to other, more serious issues. There is also no reason to over-consume calories during training (unless you are implementing the “train the gut” method. Over-consuming calories can lead to GI distress and destroy a training session and cause the infamous DNF in a race. As such, it is important to find your “sweet spot” of calorie consumption during training. Ideally, you would have a metabolic efficiency test to determine this but if you are unable to do this, I recommend allowing at least 3 months where you can experiment with different calorie levels during training. My advice is to start on the low end and gradually move upwards until you find the point where you performance is solid and you do not have any GI distress symptoms.


#3: Under-hydrating based on environmental conditions. 

If you are traveling to a climate that is different than your training environment, you will likely have to adjust your hourly fluid intake. Normally, heat and humidity requires more hydration while cold and dry requires less. Of course, this will depend on your sweat rate and sweat sodium concentration testing so I highly recommend you measure those at least a few months before you leave for your race.  Additionally, if you are a multisport athlete, your sweat rate will likely be different between sports so be sure to measure your sweat rate for each sport that you do.


While your daily nutrition will somewhat set up your nutrient timing plan for training and racing, do not underestimate the power of customizing a nutrient timing plan. It may take a little time but it is worth experimenting to determine the exact strategy that is ideal for your body and training needs.


If you would like some assistance in setting up a custom nutrient timing system, reach out to our team of Sport Dietitians at eNRG Performance.





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