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Fuelling for peak performance with Canoe and Triathlon
20 May 2017

Canoe and Triathlon WA Nutrition Workshop

20th May 2017, DSR

Story by Trent Mitton, WAIS/AIS Hockey Player, member of Kookaburras Australian Men's Hockey Team

A group of 20 excited athletes from the sports of Canoeing, Kayaking, and Triathlon met lead facilitator Emily Eaton and myself on Saturday morning for their Developing Champions seminar. This session focused on nutrition, an integral part of being an athlete. At the end of this session, these athletes left with valuable knowledge on a topic they might not have known much about.


Lead facilitator Emily is the head Dietician at the Western Australian Institute of Sport. She has vast experience in dealing with athletes at the highest level and her knowledge and nutritional advice was invaluable to these young athletes. On a personal note, I also took away a great deal from Emily.


One of the most important topics we covered was about pre and post-training nutrition. We discussed in depth some of the healthier options they could be eating for their pre-training meal or snack and we also identified the barriers which present themselves in choosing these options.


As we are not full time profession athletes, we discussed how we have to fit training around our school or work schedules which often leads to early morning trainings. We all acknowledged how tough it can be to try and fit in a meal at 5am, but understood how important it was to have something in your body before training. The slideshow we presented covered a range of options for pre-training nutrition on the go, for example a quick banana as you walk out the door or an Up & Go drink.



The other side of this is the post training nutrition which many athletes including myself often neglect. Emily described how vital it is to refuel your body after training so you can recover well and be prepared for the next session. Again we had a lot of discussion about how the young athletes have to be prepared and take ownership of the nutrition side of their sporting life. Whether it be fitting a quick healthy snack in after school or organising with their parents to have something ready when they finish training or an event.


During the session there were many activities which allowed the group to think about what is really in the food they eat. One such activity featured different slides of common foods and everyone had to decide the level of carbohydrates they contained, from low to high. It was really interesting to see some of the foods we eat regularly actually contain high levels of sugar or calories. It also provided a really good overview of the right foods we should be consuming and the ones to stay clear of.


One of the most important points Emily and I made to the group was that being an athlete changes what your body needs to operate at its optimum level. Somebody of the same age and build that is just exercising a small amount each week does not require nearly as many carbohydrates and nutrients that an athlete does. We made it very clear that an athlete’s diet should include a large variety of foods in the right amounts, a lesson which is extremely important for developing athletes.


The lessons learned by the group throughout the session were predominantly about reassessing the foods they are eating and adding some more variety to their diet.


A Saturday morning well spent!
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