Sports and Performance

How to Increase Your Performance by Focusing on Your Health

Henrietta Paxton

Head Nutritionist at Biospan (MBANT, CNHC)

Sports and Performance

How to Increase Your Performance by Focusing on Your Health

Health Drives Performance

This is an overlooked concept in sport; we get so set on specific performance focused interventions, that we totally forget that the basis of any quality training session, of consistent training and optimal adaptation is health.

If our systems are not working in harmony, dysfunctional or imbalanced then training, adaptation or performance will be impacted.

As an athlete turned Nutritional Therapist, I understand more than most the contribution nutrition should be playing in a training programme.

Unfortunately, the concept of good health being a basis for performance was alien to me as an athlete for a long time, and I paid a high price; suffering multiple injuries and ultimately costing me my Olympic dream.

I truly believe had I known then what I now know, my injuries and career would have taken a different course.

Finally, in 2013, after totally rupturing my hamstring, I was told that I would never pole vault again. Shortly after which my father died. I found myself in a dark place battling real emotional lows alongside devastating physical injury.

I was forced to focus on my health before my sport, and started down the path of Nutritional Therapy. Thankfully, I did, as 11 months after the pessimistic prognosis I qualified for my second Commonwealth Games.

I got healthy and my body healed.

The Power of Good Nutrition

Your body can heal itself; given the right conditions.

Nutrition is the basis for fundamental health. Digesting and absorbing real food is the only way we get the nutrients we need for our body to work as a balanced system.

Without these nutrients systems start to breakdown. Since our bodies work in a beautifully complex and holistic way, a dysfunction in one area can and will affect function in another- leading to negative impacts on training and performance.

Apparently “Normal” symptoms such as hay fever, poor sleep, PMS, or bloating are all signs that somewhere there is an imbalance that will pull resources away from proper recovery or adaptation.

Having the right substrates and micro-nutrients available to properly support recovery, immune function, and hormone production (to name just a few) whilst allowing the body to efficiently clean up all the by-products of a high training load can tangibly improve the quality of and recovery from training.

Think heavier reps, faster runs, reduced fatigue, less muscle soreness, avoiding illness and time off training and better sleep.

This can only improve performance potential, whilst properly nourishing connective tissue health can decrease injury risk and prolong athletic careers.  

This really is what food can do for us. What we eat can either improve these functions or detract from them. I know which one I want to be doing.

Now What Should You Do?

The human body is a gift and should be nurtured and loved with the nutrient’s nature intended. Overlooking the impact of nutrition as an athlete means you are building your training on a foundation of sand.

Choose to build on a solid foundation and make nutrition a priority in your training regime by booking a consultation today.

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