GUT HEALTH – HOW IT CAN IMPACT ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

Your gut health plays a vital role in your performance and recovery as an athlete. 

When it comes to training, we often think of focusing on building areas of the body such as our legs or arms. However, a part of the body that impacts your performance just as much as training, is the gut. 

A healthy gut can strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation, balance hormones, and improve digestion – all components that a healthy athlete should have. So, how can my gut health impact my athletic performance? Let’s explore below. 

Energy and performance    

It’s not unknown that energy is the key to performance, that’s why there are thousands of pre-workouts available to assist an individual’s performance. However, nothing compares to the natural energy produced in your gut. 

The microbes in the gut assist in the production and breakdown of the food you consume, producing short-chain fatty acids. These act as a subtract of glucose, which provides your muscles with energy during exercise. With a healthy gut, microbes can increase the production of short-chain fatty acids. Therefore, supplying your muscles with plenty of energy, oxygen and nutrients they need to perform at their best.  

Having limited energy during a workout can significantly impact your performance. Ensuring that you fuel your body with the best nutrients is crucial for improving and promoting your gut health. Prebiotic and fibre rich foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts are the most effective nutrients for your gut health as they will produce plenty of energy and improve your overall performance.  

Recovery and health    

In strength-based exercise, your muscle fibres naturally tear, causing inflammation. During the muscle-building process, your gut assists in the production and transfer of oxygen, energy and nutrients towards the needed muscles allowing them to repair and grow. With a healthy gut, this process will improve your recovery time, muscle soreness and strength.  

As we know, a good night’s sleep is the key to the performance and recovery of an athlete. Your gut microbes help regulate hormones such as serotonin, GABA and cortisol. These hormones can significantly impact your quality of sleep and your ability to recover after exercise.  

During exercise, your gut increases the production of Butyrate, which helps support the health of your digestive system. Butyrate can assist in controlling inflammation, tissue repair and help prevent illness. With training sessions and restrictive diets, athletes are often more susceptible to issues such as bloating, IBS, gas and constipation, all these issues can significantly impact your performance.  

At Progressive Physio, our sports nutrition services aim to improve and enhance your physical endurance, performance and recovery. We can create a personalised nutrition plan of macro and micronutrients and diverse food groups that will improve your gut health and help you achieve your peak athletic performance.  

If you are experiencing gut-related problems or want to improve your athletic performance, make a booking with our nutritionist Franca this week.  

Call Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy today on 4721 7798 or email: info@progressiverehab.com.au 

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.