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.