Book Review: The Athlete's Fix

I like to stay on top of my game when it comes to nutrition knowledge, trends + research. As I read new books, studies, publications and try new products, I like to share it with all of you so we can stay up to date together! 


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Recently I picked up The Athlete's Fix to read. Why this book? Mainly, the fact that it's written by someone completely qualified to write on the topic. In this day and age of fake 'gurus' and over exaggerated titles (oh you have a kid and lost 20 pounds so that must make you a female health coach expert?!), it is important to remember that there are people who actually know the facts, who are educated and specialize in a field and those are the people you should consult for real advice. Also, there are many nutrition focused publications, but few that attempt to speak directly to the serious athlete population. 

Book: The Athlete's Fix

Author: Pip Taylor - Professional Athlete + Sports Dietitian

Quick Overview:
A guide to reducing stubborn food related symptoms that plague most people.  Common problem foods are identified, explained and a plan is given to move on the things potentially causing you trouble. This is all done in a way that speaks to an athlete and focuses in on specifics like training needs, weight concerns, and rest. 

Pros:

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  • The language is simple but detailed and anything over complex (nutrition nerd speak) is explained with examples.
    • Detailing how to spot added sugars
    • Specific foods that are high in carbohydrates. 
  • Provides solid information of a wide range of foods and how they could be affecting your body in negative ways. 
  • Touches on appropriate use of sport foods (100% fan of this message!).
  • The information given is well-rounded from performance to mood to GI symptoms. 
  • Gives easy to understand guidelines / charts detailing athlete fueling needs. 
  • Provides a sample elimination diet.
  • Straightforward lists of best pick foods per topic throughout the book.
    • "Choosing your nuts"
    • "Foods that reduce inflammation"
    • "Non-Dairy Calcium Sources"
  • The charts are visually clean and provide detailed summaries of main points. 
  • Provides a collection of easy to make recipes that are free of potentially negative foods.
 

Cons:

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  • The message of eliminating foods is strong and difficult to get past for an athlete who doesn't associate foods with other body symptoms. 
  • There is a strong fixation on Dairy being a harmful food
  • Lacks information of the potential nutrient deficiencies when giving up large groups of food.
  • Lacks direction for an athlete to take to merge training with giving up food groups. 
  • Does not break down different athlete group guidelines (cycling/running/rowing/etc...). 

Overall Take:
I appreciate the clear cut way nutrition information and advise is laid out in this text. It provides athletes with a great base knowledge of fueling workouts along with some specific examples of what to eat. Athletes tend to look at their diet only in terms of carbs, calories, and protein and forget the larger picture of general health. Many of us forget that foods affect us in ways we don't automatically think of. The text helps to push athletes to remember that they are trying to perform and need really look at what foods are helping achieve this and which foods might be harming their progress through low energy, poor digestion, and other symptoms. The advise to adhere to a 'base functional diet' is over simplified, however. I feel the potential nutrient shortcomings of adopting such a limited diet were rather glanced over. While an athlete should take careful notice of how foods are affecting their bodies, it needs to be done in a personally guided way that takes into account individual needs and training guidelines. 

Bottom line, read the book! It will give you some great perspective on how to look at your diet and apply some new concepts to your diet. Then contact a sports dietitian (like ME!) to work with on your specific needs; wether that's an elimination diet or not.