sports nutrition

* Before supplementing it is best to consult a qualified nutritionist

Testimonial – Simon Nola 26 year old elite light weight rower

‘Since I have been seeing Helene for nutritional advice, I have noticed a considerable difference in my training and recovery. Before I changed my diet and before I began taking top quality nutritional supplements from Orthoplex, my training was constantly interrupted by fatigue and sickness. As a result, my performance was impeded and I constantly under performed. Since I began taking Orthoplex Repairase, I no longer need to use my steroid inhaler, my sinuses have cleared up and I have not been getting asthma.

I train on average 10 sessions per week at approximately 2-3 hours per session. It is very important to get the most out of each session and that my recovery begins as soon as the last session is over. By implementing a plan put in place by Helene, I have improved my recovery time and hence my ability to perform at my best in each session. As a result I have seen huge improvements in my testing times and my motivation to train has also improved. I would recommend Helene to any athlete wanting to improve their diet and performance.’

General Sports Nutrition Guidelines

Carbohydrates (CHO)

  • Good quality carbohydrate foods: whole grains, cereals (e.g. oats, barley, quinoa, spelt, rye), vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Poor quality carbohydrate foods: sugar and most refined foods: Weet-bix, alcohol, cakes, biscuits, white bread, lollies and chocolate etc.
  • To keep it simple – eat approximately 2 x the size of your palm of good quality carbohydrates with each main meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
  • Eat CHO: 1-2 hours before training (it is best not to be training on a full stomach).
  • During training: drink Endura to provide you with CHO and energy.
  • This is a better choice than sports drinks which are high in artificial colours, flavours and refined white sugar (which reduces immune function).
  • Eat CHO as soon as possible after exercise to maximise glycogen stores for your next training session.
  • High carbohydrate (CHO) diets are important for building muscle glycogen stores (storage form of glucose). High amounts of muscle glycogen allow you to train at optimal intensity and promotes endurance and performance.
  • Always choose whole grain carbohydrates e.g. brown bread, pasta and rice (or basmati rice). If it is not brown it is not wholegrain.
  • Eliminate white refined grains e.g. white bread, white sugar, cakes and biscuits.
  • Refined grains (especially sugar) reduce immune function, which can be a problem for athletes who train intensely.
  • The daily intake of  CHO needed to ensure maximum glycogen replenishment is 5-10g/kg body weight.


  • Good sources of protein: fish, chicken, eggs, red meat, full-cream dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Athletes need larger amounts of protein to make up for increased protein breakdown during and after exercise and for muscle repair, recovery and growth.
  • Eat 1-2 times the size of your palm of protein with EACH MEAL.
  • Eat fish 3/week (fresh or tinned).
  • You also need 20 g protein as soon as possible after training (within 30 minutes) e.g. two boiled eggs, a smoothie with 2 raw eggs, a meat or cheese sandwich on wholegrain bread or a whey protein powder supplement.

Choosing protein powders

  • Try to avoid powders sweetened with asparatme (neutrasweet) and sucralose (splenda). These sweeteners are not good for your nervous system (even the MS society is warning against them).
  • I recommend Pharma Foods Isowhey complete (available in pharmacies or health food stores) or Orthoplex Protain (practitioner only).


  • Fats and oils
  • Always use extra virgin cold pressed oil for cooking.
  • You can add 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil to protein shakes.
  • Choose butter not margarine. Margarine is highly processed and high in trans-fatty acids (which reduce immunity and are not good for you heart).
  • It is ideal to supplement with a good quality fish oil to help reduce inflammation (from heavy training). I only recommend Metagenics or Nordic Naturals fish oils. The rest are in a synthetic form and are not well absorbed.
  • Always take fish oils with food.


  • Athletes lose fluids when they train.
  • Being adequately hydrated offers performance advantages.
  • Dehydration can adversely affect performance.
  • Ensure adequate hydration before training (drink 2 glasses water 1-2 hours before training).
  • Drink 150-350 ml water (or Endura) every 15-20 minutes during training to prevent dehydration and to improve performance.
  • After training drink 1 litre water (or Endura) for each hour of training.
  • General guideline – 8-10 glasses water/day plus an extra 1L for every hour of training.
  • 1 scoop of Endura (mixed in 200 ml water)= 162 mg magnesium
  • 1 scoop (1-2 hours before training).
  • 1-2 scoops (during training).
  • 1 scoop (after training)
  • Total = 8 scoops/day = 1296 mg magnesium (a good therapeutic dose for athletes who lose magnesium and other electrolytes in sweat).
  • Start taking Endura during training (don’t begin taking it during a competition because it may make you need to go to the toilet).
  • Cut back the dose if you reach bowel tolerance.
  • If you come to see me individually, I will make personal recommendations, because everyone is different.

General Nutritional Guidelines

  • Eat regular meals (5-6/day), with as great a variety of foods as possible (choose wholefoods, which are as close to nature as possible).
  • Eat good quality protein (2 x size of your palm with each meal) – yoghurt, tofu, beans, organic meat and poultry (where possible), fish (3-4 times/week), milk, cheese, raw nuts and seeds.
  • Fresh fruit (2-3 pieces/day).
  • Vegetables (5 serves/day of green leafy vegetables and other brightly coloured vegetables).
  • Whole grains (brown bread and pasta or rice pasta) and legumes e.g. lentils.

Meeting weight requirements (weight loss or gain)

I recommend having a VLA Bioimpedance Analysis (used by NASA). This will tell you:

  • Your ideal weight (for your body frame)
  • BMI (body mass index)
  • Bone mass
  • Fat mass (% of total weight and % of ideal)
  • Muscle mass (% of total weight and % of ideal)
  • The quality of your muscle tissue.
  • Your cellular age
  • Cellular fluid balance (IC:EC). If this balance is not correct it indicates excess inflammation.
  • Basal metabolic weight.
  • Total body water (intracellular and extra cellular)

Call Dr Chris Tsoutis (in Annandale) to book a VLA test: 95522777.

  • It is important for you to do regular VLA tests, so that you will know what your body composition is (fat:muscle:bone:water).
  • With weight loss, it is ideal to lose fat – not muscle or fluid (unless you have excess stored fluid).
  • It is important that you slowly get to your required weight over the course of the season because:
  • If you just lose fluid, you will become dehydrated and this will adversely affect your performance. Dehydration leads to muscle cramps and muscle weakness ? reduced power.
  • You do not want to lose muscle mass (this will decrease your strength) and can cause rebound fat gain when you go back to eating normally.
  • If your fat stores are so low that you need to lose muscle to make weight requirements, it will take at least 1-2 weeks to start losing muscle (so start at least 2 months before you compete).
  • It takes time to lose fat (safe loss is 0.5 – 1kg/week).
  • If you do crash yo yo diets, you will mess up your metabolism leading to fat gain when you finish your sports career.

Safe weight loss programs

  • The easiest program is the Pharma Foods ISO Whey Complete Weight Management Program, however, it is best to consult a qualified nutritionist who will be able to tailor a program to your individual needs.
  • You can do a 10 day intensive program (with two protein meal replacement shakes per day).
  • You can also do a 6 week program (one meal replacement day).
  • These programs do not have as much carbohydrates as I would usually recommend for athletes.
  • However, you need to reduce carbohydrates to lose fat!
  • On the program, if you feel that you are losing energy, increase your carbohydrate intake by 1 handful (at 1 meal).
  • If you still need more energy, increase your carbohydrate intake by 1 handful (at 2 meals).


You need to get adequate sleep, so that your body can repair and regenerate after training.

  • Try to get 7.5 (+/- 1 hour) of sleep each night.
  • The ideal hours to sleep are 11pm-7am (if possible).
  • It is best to have regular sleep and wake times.
  • Get at least 10 minutes of sunlight early morning.
  • Avoid caffeine after 1pm.
  • Don’t watch television immediately before bed.
  • Be in a low light environment before bed.
  • Ensure that your bedroom is dark.