"Its all about performing and performance"

The relationship between diet and physical performance in athletes has been studied since the 1930's when researchers first demonstrated that a high carbohydrate diet increased endurance significantly more than a low carbohydrate diet. Subsequently, hundreds of studies have shown that exercise-induced fatigue is directly related to low muscle glycogen stores and that performance can be improved by the consumption of a high carbohydrate diet.

So, yes there is a difference in nutritional need for a competitive shooter and a triathlete. But do not be under any illusion of the significance of having the correct nutritional balance and intake for shooting. World Cups and World Championships can be shot over 3 days not forgetting training/practice days, and often in hotter climates than we are use to. Therefore the uptake of nutritional requirements can be critical for alertness and sharp reactions.

We need 'Adenosine Tri Phosphate' in our system to give us the energy metabolism to ensure life – without it, there is no life. Proteins, Fats and Glycogen are needed to produce ATP. These supplies determine our reactions for nerves and muscles. Shooting is a fast reaction sport requiring dynamic acuity.

The following information simply outlines the basic elements that we need to ask our selves. John's experience sits with being both a current International Triathlete and Clay shot. The differences of shooting a World Cup over three days and racing an Ironman Triathlon over a 12 hour period is marked BUT the principles of attention to detail and getting the nutrition correct for optimum performance in both sports is critical.

1. What we need to know:
• What constitutes a healthy diet?
• How useful are 'sports drinks'?
• What food and fluids will enhance performance?
• Are there different requirements for different sports?

2. Why do we manipulate our diet?
• To reduce or increase weight.
• For energy and nutritional intake for sport.

3. What do we need in our diet?
• Carbohydrates – energy.
• Fats – Fat stores for energy.
• Proteins – Muscle build-up.
(These are all Macro-nutrients).

• Vitamins.
• Minerals.
(These have no energy value but are essential for a variety of catalytic and bio- chemical processes).

• Dietary fibre – essential for healthy gut, but it has no energy or nutritional value.

4. Carbohydrates:
• Pasta.
• Potato.
• Rice.
• Bread.

(These are complex carbs – wholemeal versions of these foods add fibre).

5. Fats:
• Dairy products.
• Red meats.
• Cakes, pastries.

(Stored energy – broken down for use).

6. Proteins:
• Red meat.
• Milk.
• Cereal products.

Needed for growth and maintenance of body tissues.
We need a 'balance' of these items.
Balance = variety.

7. What is the Glycaemix Index?
The speed at which carbohydrates are absorbed into the system (0 – 100).
• Low = Slow (for endurance athletes especially).
• High = Fast (for instant, short term boost).

8. Non athlete's diet:
Carbs 50%
Protein 10 – 15%
Fats 35-40%

9. Athlete's diet:
Carbs 60-70%
Protein 10-15%
Fats 25-30%

10. Is your diet healthy?
• Carbs – is it a large proportion of your intake?
• Fat – is it to high?
• Fat – are you avoiding animal fats?
• Fibre – do you include brown or wholemeal starchy foods?
• Fibre – do you eat five fruit or veg portions a day?
• Is your diet varied?

11. Sports Drinks:
Isotonic Drinks:
• Contains same amount of particles as blood.
• Does not prevent the absorption of fluid.
• Contains small but useful amounts of energy (5-8% carb solution).
• Can be drunk before, during or after exercise without problem.
• Transfer of molecules from one place in the body to another.
• Some rehydration takes place.
• Water is best for rehydration, but energy needed as well.

Hypertonic Drinks:
• Not much rehydration but good for energy.
• Contains more particles than blood.
• Prevents the absorption of fluid.
• Contains high levels of energy.
• Should not generally be drunk during exercise.

• Start exercise fully hydrated.
• Top-up before and during exercise.
• Determine needs (hydration, energy or both).
• Find what you like.
• Practice drinking during training first to get it right (not in competition).

• High carbohydrates, low GI meal 2-3 hours before activity.

During Exercise:
• Maintain hydration.
• Top up energy levels in endurance events or long competitions.

Post Exercise:
• Re-energise as soon as possible after exercise.

Top up with snacks:
• Fruit.
• Dried fruit.
• Cereal bars.
• Jam/honey sandwiches.
• Tea cakes, muffins, malt loaf.
• Tinned fruit.
(These are not substitutes for a good, basic diet).
Finally it must be remembered that all the nutrition we take must be balanced. The balance is that of 'Exercise, Nutrition and Rest'. Do that and we produce 'Development'.