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Variety is key

In many ways we like to have a certain routine. We keep things the same. When we get up in the morning, prepare breakfast before work, we often do the exactly same steps day after day. We take the milk out of the fridge, put some oats into our breakfast bowl, add some milk, stir it. We let it sit for a moment, meanwhile we go and get the newspaper and prepare a glass of orange juice or a cup of coffee. Then we sit down, eat breakfast.

It’s not wrong to have the same breakfast every day. But it would be wrong if we had the same lunch and the same dinner every day. Variety in out diet is important to consume different foods. Different vegetables, different grains, different protein sources, different fruit. The more variety we have in our diet, the more nutrients we consume. We dieticians often tell our patients to eat a variety of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fruits, vegetables. We do this because we know how difficult it is for someone who has to exclude certain foods or food groups from the diet due to surgery, disease or allergy/intolerance. Those people on a restricted diet have difficulties to meet their daily needs.

 

For athletes a diet rich in variety is important. More than others do they need to include as many nutrients as possible into their diet. Exercise means a lot of stress for their body and a good, broad diet can help to provide many nutrients. Otherwise they will need to take supplements to get all the nutrients they need.

 

And it is similar with training. Training needs some variety too. It can be too much but doing the same exercise in the very same condition over and over again won’t make you any stronger. Only by changing the environment and the exercises you can learn new skills, get better in dealing with different conditions and so beat your contenders. We’ve done research in many successful elite athletes (Birklbauer & Birklbauer), Olympic champions and world champions have used this approach and gotten successfully better in their respective sports. Don’t repeat the same block of exercises every week. There’s a middle way of doing too much variation and not doing any at all. But varying your training as varying your foods makes you stronger. And here’s a hint how:

 

Variety in nutrition and training

 

Abwechslung in der Ernährung und im Training