Nutrition for Athletes

By Rising Star, Emily Brichacek

As someone who has been involved in sport from a very young age, I have come to learn just how important it is to fuel your body with the right foods for optimal performance. I am a middle/long distance runner, with my favorite event being the 5000m (12 and a half laps of an athletics track- I’m a bit crazy I know!). As a result, my energy needs are pretty high to fuel both the volume and intensity of my training.

A typical training week for me includes 3 running sessions of around 16km, 2-3 easy runs (anywhere from 15-22kms), 3 gym sessions and 3-4 easy swims for recovery. As running is such a high-impact sport, it is really important for me to ensure that I include adequate amounts of protein and calcium in my diet, as this helps to support muscle repair and bone strength. Below is a rundown of how I might fuel a typical training day.

In th Morning

In the Morning

Wake: Coffee + muesli with milk, plan yoghurt, fruit and honey.

Morning session: 5km warm up jog; 6x1km with 1 min recovery; 5km cool down jog.

Post-session: 250ml banana smoothie (Although protein powders are a handy option when travelling. Dairy is a great recovery food as it contains protein, carbohydrates, calcium and more. Plus, milk-based drinks are shown to be more effective than sports drinks for rehydration after exercise).

Post-post session: Ice bath recovery

During the Day

During the Day

Lunch: Multigrain roll with lots of salad, chicken, cheese and avocado.

Snack: Yoghurt or muesli bar and some fruit.

Afternoon Session: Easy swim (2kms) followed by some stretching and foam rolling.

In the Evening

In the Evening

Dinner: An all-time favorite of mine is grilled salmon, sweet potatoes wedges topped with yoghurt and sweet chili, plus a leafy salad.

Before bed: Yoghurt and granola, or a Milo with a scoop of ice cream.

On race day I try to make sure that I keep a similar routine as this helps to calm my nerves. I try to have my last ‘meal’ 2-3 hours before I warm-up, and this usually consists of a coffee, toast with honey and a banana. Plain foods are great when you are nervous!

Hope you found this useful! If you are interested in finding out a bit more about sports nutrition, Sports Dieticians Australia have a great website with heaps of information: