Nutrition Basics

The nutrition philosophy of Eat Drink Sleep GAA is very simple.

Get back to basics

  • We place a strong emphasis on eating a broad range of whole, natural and unprocessed foods that have a high nutrient density.

  • We strive to help people improve long term healthy food habits and behaviours.

  • We hope to empower people to take responsibility for their own nutrition and preparation.

  • We prioritize health as the initial step to achieving performance and body composition goals.

  • We encourage people to take a positive mental approach and enjoy the journey towards improving their nutrition.

Fresh meat, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, fruit and vegetables should make up the majority of our diet.

Carbohydrates in the form of grains, starches, fruit and vegetables are an extremely important component of a GAA player's diet. They are used to provide energy to fuel training sessions and matches and to recover post exercise. We should eat mostly slow release, high fibre carbs the majority of the time whilst simple carbs can be beneficial after or during exercise to provide quick energy source or to refuel for the next exercise session. Carbohydrates should be eaten based on activity levels. Eating less on rest days and more on training or match days will help with the training response, health and body composition.

Protein is primarily found in foods such as fish, meat, eggs, dairy, nuts and beans. It is vitally important that people eat sufficient protein to maintain and build muscle, optimize health and for recovery and repair. We should aim to spread our protein doses over the course of the day. A good rule of thumb would be to include a portion of protein in every meal. Protein is especially important pre and post exercise as it improves training adaptations, general recovery and muscle growth rather than breakdown. GAA players who train regularly should be eating around 1.5/2g per kg of body weight per day.

Eating a combination of carbohydrate and protein before and after exercise will promote training adaptations and help performance and recovery. For any young athlete, it is a really good habit to get into.

Fats are an important part of the diet and should not be excluded. Fats are the main fuel source in the body at rest or when active at low/medium intensities. They help manufacture hormones, form cell membranes, form the brain and nervous system and transports fat soluble vitamins A, E, D, K among other jobs. As you can see they are quite important! Fats have gotten a bad rap for many years with the misguided notion that eating fat will make you fat. It is important to recognize that there are different types of fat and eating 'healthy' fats from a variety of foods such as olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocado will provide us with the nutrients we need. It is best to eat foods that are lower in fat pre and post exercise but they can be included at all other times.

Fruits and Vegetables are extremely important. Eating a large colourful variety will provide us a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients play a crucial role in digestion, energy transfer, nervous system function, growth and repair as well as many other important jobs. Your oul lass was right when she told you to eat your vegetables! It is important that we include them in every meal. We should aim to eat 5-8 portions per day.

SUMMARY

There is no substitute for eating a diet composed mostly of real, natural, nutrient dense foods. Life long healthy eating habits can promote health, raise performance and improve body composition.

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