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Three Nutrition Hacks For Peak Performance In The Workplace

Elite athletes know that if they want to set personal bests, win gold or break records, they need to pay strict attention to how they fuel their bodies.

It then follows that if you want to kick goals in the workplace, you could stand to learn a few things from the sportspeople pros. As such, we decided to tap into the expertise of Matt Legge, research and development director and head scientist at sports and nutrition supplement company ATP Science, for his advice on how best to reach peak performance.

Ahead, Legge translates the science of sports nutrition into three easy-to-understand nutrition hacks, designed specifically with the busy office worker in mind.

Don’t overdo it with the caffeine

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Image: Kim S. Ly / Unsplash

If you’re like most office workers, popping a pod in the espresso machine or grabbing a takeaway coffee on your way into work is routine. And that’s totally fine, says Legge – to an extent.

Coffee isn’t too bad in moderation,” he says. “It has some good antioxidants and other benefits with liver bile flow.”

But, in general, too much reliance on caffeine to get you through the day is a short-term solution at best, Legge says.

“Coffee can allow you to burn energy you don’t have. When your body is trying to slow you down, it’s often for a reason. Coffee will help liberate fuel even if that means breaking down your reserves.

“One of those questions to ask is: are you overworking or under recovering? Coffee can fuel both parts of that equation and may not be helping you in the long run.”

Bottom line: you don’t need to ditch the coffee completely, but rather than wean yourself off becoming so dependent on it and instead look for ways to optimise your recovery instead.

Load up on the magnesium

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Then there’s combatting stress. You might not be building up much of a sweat typing up that PowerPoint but that doesn’t mean you’re not churning through nutrients, Legge says.

“Stress and being busy uses a lot of nutrients,” he says. “You really can be burning through a lot more than you’d think, especially the water-soluble B vitamins and electrolytes like magnesium.”

If you’re hitting the pillow and your mind just won’t let go of the day’s happenings, consider magnesium, Legge advises. “Insomnia from magnesium deficiency can be described as a brain cramp, it simply cannot switch off. So topping up with a good quality magnesium is recommended.”

Magnesium will not only help you sleep but it’ll also fill that coffee cup-shaped void in your life. “Many believe that magnesium is a sedative, but it’s not,” says Legge. “In fact, it’s used for energy production.”

Give your digestion a break, and look for healthy fats instead

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Image: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Another way to reach peak performance? By banning certain food groups, says Legge. It’ll work to ease the body’s burden.

“Reduce irritating foods. This will vary according to the individual; some people are sensitive to artificial chemicals like colours, flavours, sweeteners and other natural chemical irritants like glutamates, oxalates and salicylates. Others have allergies or intolerances.

“The ideal scenario is to reduce bad trans fats and modified fats and to instead go for the good fats from nuts, seeds and avocados for example.”

Listen to your body, see how it responds to certain foods and, if you have any suspicions, get tested for food sensitivities.

(Lead image: Nielsen Ramon / Unsplash)

Published 13 December, 2019