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What is nutrition periodization for a competitive athlete?

Nutrition periodization is the concept of varying nutritional intake along with training cycles. For example, during preseason, your training volume and intensity is at its highest. Therefore, your nutritional needs increase. During the season, when you are competing, your training volume usually goes down because the goal is to maintain strength and endurance that you built during preseason. More frequent, small meals and healthy snacks with a reduction in overall caloric intake are recommended. Off-season nutrition should correspond to your goals. The goal, whatever the point in your season, is to eat carbohydrates, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Appalachian State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.