Performance Nutrition Explained

Thrive Festival, Dublin Convention Centre, 2019

Understanding Performance Nutrition


  • You don’t need to be an athlete to benefit from making the right food choices
  • Your nutrition must be personalised to your specific needs
  • There are 5 key nutrition variables for optimum health and performance

Our body is capable of performing incredible mental and physical functions, but unless we make the right lifestyle choices around the key pillars of health and performance (exercise, nutrition, sleep and mental health) it is not possible to consistently achieve our performance potential. People may think performance nutrition is only specific to sport but this is not the case. Performance nutrition should be considered in all aspects of a person’s life and not only in a sporting context. For example in your career, for public speaking, musical performances, intense periods of study, or where your body is exposed to trauma or stress, if you want to perform, you must prime your body so it is ready to excel and perform under pressure.

For an athlete, if you want to perform to your best in training, get into the best physical shape, perform at your best in competition or if you want to recover quickly from training, then your performance nutrition is critical. Regardless of your sport, hobby or career if you want to perform consistently at the highest level then personalised ‘performance nutrition’, must form part of your routine.

Below are the key variables for optimum health and peak performance

  1. Calories: meeting our appropriate level of energy is critical to optimally complete daily tasks while over consumption of calories can lead to weight gain and associated risk factors for lifestyle related diseases.
  2. Macronutrients which are protein, carbohydrate and fat are our primary sources of energy from food. Meeting our personal needs for each one of these nutrients is critical for health, energy, body composition goals and of course athletic performance.
  3. Food composition relates to the nutrient density of the foods we eat day to day. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants play a critical role in health, well-being and performance.
  4. Food timing relates to when food is consumed. This means at what point in the day and in a performance context it is specific to when food is consumed before or after exercise.
  5. Supplements are often what people want to discuss first when considering their dietary goals. While in specific cases supplements can offer  an important solution for meeting the need for specific a nutrient, the topic of supplements is the least important factor when it comes to the success of your diet.

Goal setting

The aim is to set realistic performance goals and customise a nutrition plan that enables a person build nutrition habits and a routine that helps a person achieve those goals. daveynutrition aims to make that process as simple and as enjoyable as possible through a performance nutrition calculator to set your nutrition targets, expertly created meal plans and offering tools to edit your meal plan for personal food preferences.