3 Expert Strategies That Will Optimize Your Meal Plan for Performance

Presented by Spartan Training®

Mario Limaduran, a performance chef who has worked with the UFC and the Cornell wrestling team, has witnessed plenty of Americans struggling with overeating. However, he holds firm in his belief that when it comes to athletes' performance nutrition, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, as sound nutrition is independent to each person's body and goals. 

"The best diet is the diet that you can stick to for the longest period of time, for the rest of your life," Limaduran says. 

Related: 7 Ways to Optimize Your Sleep for Athletic Performance

On this episode of the Spartan Up! podcast, Limaduran and Spartan CEO Joe De Sena discuss how incredibly crucial a dialed-in nutrition strategy is to optimal performance, plus the following three strategic steps that Limaduran uses to build a foolproof, performance-focused meal plan.

Mario Limaduran's 3 Performance-Focused Nutritional Strategies

1. Look at the ingredient list to see how processed a food is.

In order to determine how processed a food is, you will need to look at the ingredient list. The more ingredients that are listed, the more processed the food is. For example, if you see an ingredients list that includes white rice, corn syrup, and an anti-caking agent, this food is more processed than if the ingredient list simply says "rice."

2. Consider what you're trying to achieve.

The second step in defining your performance meal plan is to consider what you're trying to achieve with it. What are your goals? Are you trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply improve your overall health? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can begin to narrow down your options and make choices that will help you reach your goals. 

3. Make sure you're getting a good mix of nutrients.

Once you've defined your goals, you can start to figure out which nutrients you'll need to prioritize to reach them. If you're trying to lose weight, for example, you'll want to focus on eating foods that are lower in calories and fat. You'll also want to make sure that you're getting enough protein, as it is highly satiating (meaning that it will help you feel fuller for longer and help to keep your metabolism going).

Related: How Much Protein Do You Really Need to Build Muscle?

If you're trying to gain muscle, on the other hand, you'll want to make sure that you're eating enough calories and protein to support your body's needs. And if you're just trying to improve your overall health, you'll want to focus on eating a variety of healthy foods from all of the essential food groups. No matter what your goals are, the most important thing is to make sure that you're getting the nutrients your body needs. When in doubt, always talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to make sure you're on the right track.

Listen to the podcast in its entirety below.

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