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UK Coaching Team
Improving Physical Ability

Nutrition for Talent: A Coaches' Guide

Good nutrition is vital for keeping us healthy and fit. This guide will give you the fruit and veg of healthy eating habits

Why Is Nutrition Important?

Good nutrition is vital to keep us healthy and fit. This is especially important for those who take part in activity or sport. If we are taking part in physical activity, we must remember that without good health we will never perform to our potential.

Consuming the right food and drink will mean we have the correct levels of energy to maintain good health, maintain a healthy weight, and also to perform at our best whatever our current level in our chosen sport(s). What’s more, it will mean we have all the nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy life. Just like all aspects of sport, we first of all need to get the basics right!

Eating a variety of foods including all these nutrients will help to reduce the risk of developing colds and infections, and more serious problems such as heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. It can also help to prevent some of the problems associated with low intakes of minerals, such as osteoporosis (fragile bones) and anaemia.

Of course, nutrition is not the only important factor to staying healthy, and whilst this guide focuses on nutrition, we need to remember that exercising, adopting a good sleeping pattern and not smoking are all essential aspects of good health.

Some of the essentials of a healthy lifestyle


What Is Healthy Eating?

Most people have access to a wide range of both fresh and convenience foods. What makes a healthy choice? Healthy eating often conjures up images of boring food which you are told is good for you, but is no fun to eat. However, healthy eating does not mean boring food. A healthy diet should contain plenty of variety and be interesting. Indeed, variety is one of the key factors to a healthy diet. Healthy eating is choosing the right combination of foods to balance intake and promote overall health.

Health problems such as diabetes are commonplace in modern society. Maintaining a healthy body weight and eating a well-balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense high-fibre sources of carbohydrate such as breads and cereals, while avoiding excess and added sugar, can help us to avoid the problems of diabetes. Similarly, the problems of heart disease may be avoided by eating this style of food and by avoiding excess fat, and making sure that we include some of the healthier fats such as oily fish, olive oil, and nuts and seeds.

We often hear the term ‘super foods’ being used. These are often mentioned in terms of their ability to help prevent disease such as cancer, as well as fighting infections. The term may be a little dramatic, but what is really being discussed is a group of foods that contains small amounts of naturally occurring chemicals, which may have a beneficial effect on the body and help prevent disease. Most of these chemicals are antioxidants and are found in a lot of fruit and vegetables – especially the brightly coloured ones. Hence blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes and tomato products often appear on the super foods list. Of course, the real trick is to make sure that our diet includes a wide range of these foods, as no one food on its own is going to work miracles!

Broccoli - on the super foods list


A Coaching Must Have

What you're about to download is a premium coach's guide - only available to subscribers - to help you:

  • identify the nutrients in food, their purpose, and how to achieve the right balance
  • understand the nutritional needs of those taking part in physical activity and sport
  • discuss some of the important practical issues around eating and sport
  • provide practical tips for your participants to help ensure they receive the benefits of good nutrition.

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UK Coaching Team