30 Oct Off-Season Nutrition Tips
After completing an event, or at the conclusion of a racing or competing season, athletes enter the off-season. This recovery phase allows time for repair, reflection, and rest, both physically and mentally.
There are a number of nutritional considerations to be aware of during this time, so when pre-season begins, you are ready to hit the ground running.
Despite the reduction in exercise, many athletes continue to eat the same amount and type of foods. To try and maintain lean body mass and avoid increasing body fat, modifying eating habits is key.
During the off-season, athletes don’t require nearly as much energy compared to during the season or peak training period. This reduced energy intake can be achieved through simple swaps in meals, limiting snacking, or by reducing the serving sizes of meals. You may even find that you are not as hungry as you were during the season.
The amount of carbohydrate containing foods should also decrease. Carbohydrates are used as our main source of energy, so when exercise or activity levels drop, you can also reduce your carbohydrate intake.
Items such as energy bars, sports drinks, or protein shakes may have become a routine part of the season, but aren’t required during a break and can return when the season does.
Protein rich foods are still a valuable component of meals, as protein helps to retain lean body mass.
The off-season is a great opportunity to experiment with preferences and open yourself up to increased variety, as food choices can often become habitual during the season. That way, when the new season or training period begins you can have some fresh meal ideas! In the off-season you’ll also have more mental capacity and space in the day to think more about food choices and try new foods and flavours.
This may also be a time to choose foods that ‘don’t sit well’ when you exercise that you may be reminiscing about.
Overall, it is important to get the rest you deserve after a long training, racing, or competing season to ensure you return fresh.
The role nutrition plays in off-season will vary for each individual. If you feel you require more guidance, our Accredited Glen Iris Dietitian Alex is here to help.