Performance Nutrition Non Negotiables

Paralympian, Sports Dietician and 2XU Ambassador, David Bryant reveals his ten non negotiables when it comes to performance nutrition.



David Bryant is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Advanced Sports Dietitian. David is a Level 1 Triathlon Coach has also been a Personal Trainer for over 12 years.ย  David has a strong involvement in the endurance sport scene, with a personal best marathon time of 2 hours 48 minutes (SIX times under 3 hours), a Half Ironman Triathlon personal best time of 4 hours 16 minutes and came 5th overall at the Western Australia Sprint Triathlon Championships in 2015. David completed his first Ironman in Busselton in 2016 in 9 hours 19 minutes on debut. โ€‹David attributes these achievements to applying his nutrition and fitness knowledge to his everyday lifestyle.

In 2019, David was categorised in ParaTriathlon in PTS5, as he was born with a clubfoot. After winning the Devonport ITU Paratriathlon World Cup in March 2019, he was then placed on the ParaTriathlon Australian and WAIS team in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Fast track to 2021, David competed at the Tokyo Paralympics, placing 7th in the PTS5 category, a truly memorable experience being part of the Paralympic team and competing on the world stage.

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Top ten nutrition non negotiables to help you prepare, perform and recover.

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  1. Carbohydrates: Keep in mind that the greater the intensity, the greater the carbohydrate demand. If youโ€™re working hard, you need carbohydrates, so FUEL FOR THE WORK REQUIRED as we like to say. Thus, if you have an important session ahead, make sure you fuel it with some carbohydrate rich fuel before and potentially during the session to maximise performance. Ie toast, cereal, rice etc.

  2. Protein and carbohydrates post training: Yes we need protein post training for muscle rebuild and repair, but we also need carbohydrates as well to replenish muscle glycogen stores. Ie eggs on toast, nourishing sandwich, sushi etc.

  3. Iron: Crucial for carrying oxygen around the body and delivering it to red blood cells, pretty important for triathlon! Aim for 2-3 serves of lean red meat/week. Vegetarian/vegan? Aim for plenty of leafy greens but it might be worth considering an iron supplement.

  4. Caffeine: It decreases the perception of pain, liberates fat stores for fuel and improves performance! Have the coffee before training (not just at the cafรฉ post training with friends).

  5. Training the gut: The most common cause of gut distress during training and racing is most likely due to lack of training the gut to digest fuel during exercise. The gut is highly trainable so choose a low fibre, high carbohydrate fuel of choice before key training sessions so that the gut gets used to this in preparation for racing. Donโ€™t forget to practice race day nutrition in training!

  6. Salt: Training often means you not only need more fuel but also more salt to replenish sodium stores that have been depleted whilst training. On big training days add salt to meals before and after training to optimize hydration.. and add flavour to meals as well.

  7. Dairy: Take milk for example, it has it all ie Protein, carbohydrates, calcium, electrolytes and fluid. Pot set yoghurt additionally is also great for gut health. Lactose intolerant? The good news is that hard cheese and yoghurt is naturally low in lactose.

  8. Protein: Evenly distribute it across the entire day. Just having a big steak at dinner time isnโ€™t supporting youโ€™re recovery goals. Ensure thereโ€™s an element of protein at most meals across the entire day. Itโ€™ll improve satiety too!

  9. Stick to youโ€™re routine: Everyone is different, so work out a nutrition routine that works for you pre/during/post training and racing and stick to it.

  10. Enjoyment: Food is not just fuel, it is also an enjoyable part of the day as well. NO ONE IS PERFECT and perfect isnโ€™t healthy. The old 80:20 rule is a good one. If youโ€™re consistent 80% of the time then youโ€™ll be fineย 

To learn more about David you can follow him here