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Why Functional Sports Nutrition Will Be Your Secret Weapon

Why Functional Sports Nutrition Will Be Your Secret Weapon

I know you’re looking for an edge.  While most athletes realize sports nutrition is important, few appreciate how much it can be a game changer. Have you ever heard of a guy by the name of Tom Brady? Brady came off of the best season of his career at age 39. While Toms work ethic and physical skills are certainly one of a kind, there is no doubt nutrition plays a major role as to why he continues to perform at such a high level.  

Brady’s approach to nutrition includes a commitment to a diet that minimizes inflammation, is high in plants, and has meats in moderation.  This includes limiting or completely excluding gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, fruit, and caffeine. Clearly, doing all of this allows his body to recover like a teenager and age at a snail’s pace.

Where did he learn this approach?  What can it do for you?  Welcome to the world of FUNCTIONAL sports nutrition.

Why Functional Sports Nutrition is Cutting Edge

While many athletes are gifted, few can stand the test of time due to injury, wear and tear on the body, and aging. A large reason why so many athletes struggle to maintain performance throughout the season and as they age is a lack of recovery. This is where functional nutrition comes in. I’m not talking about just slamming some chocolate milk after a workout. I’m talking about knowing if even you should be drinking chocolate milk after your workout based on your individual biology.

Should you be taking vitamins and supplements and if so, how much? The bottle says to take 2 soft gels of supplement XYZ but can that really be the proper dose for a 180 lbs defensive back as well as a 300 lbs offensive linemen, or a 110 lbs female cross country runner? Do you know which foods may be adding to inflammation in your body? Do you know which ones to increase to reduce inflammation in your body? Do you ever feel fatigued and can’t figure out why?

The Cookie Cutter Approach to Sports Nutrition is Over

When learning traditional sports nutrition, chances are you would read to take supplements X, Y, and Z, and eat a standard cookie cutter set of foods based on some generic studies or principles.

Functional nutrition dives into studying YOU. Do we all work the same?  Do we all have the same amount and type of digestive enzymes in our gut?  Do we all tolerate the same foods well?  Do we all experience increased focus and energy with caffeine?  Hands down we’re all different.  We’ve all have different immune systems, experienced different illnesses and used different antibiotics throughout our lives that affect our gut microbiome and have foods sensitivities and intolerances that affect how we process our food.

Chances are you haven’t had your body tested and studied to know if some of the generic nutrition recommendations are a good fit for you. If you drink chocolate milk after your workout because the marketing is great and there is some research to support it but every time you have it you get some GI distress, bloating, or stomach discomfort, do you really think your body is processing it properly to give you the optimal benefit?

Furthermore, was the milk genetically modified and from cows injected with hormones? If so, how does this effect your recovery and performance?

Functional sports nutrition is going to study YOU as an individual to find out exactly how YOUR body works. From there an individualized plan based on your unique biology will be created. Without this being done there is no way of knowing if some of the things you’re doing are helping you or actually doing more harm than good. Nutrition can be the difference between winning and losing as well as a short or long career. If you want to improve your recovery, increase your energy, and give yourself a winning edge, you need to explore functional sports nutrition. Its seems like it may be working out OK for Tom Brady…

About The Author

Michael Bogden

Michael is a residency and fellowship trained sports physical therapist. A life long advocate for exercise and nutrition, he unexpectedly ran into issues with fatigue and recovery which significantly hindered his training. After working closely with his wife, Kylene, a dietitian trained in functional nutrition, he learned an entirely new approach to eating and living a more holistic lifestyle. This dramatic life change lead to remarkable improvement in his overall energy and performance. In 2017, with the help of a Functional Sports Nutrition approach, he improved his half marathon PR by 5 minutes. These improvements inspired him to create the FWDfuel blog with Kylene in order to spread the word so that others could experience the same success.

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