Dr. Mike Molloyis a nutrition coach who’s worked with professional athletes including weightlifters, judo champs and goalkeepers to help them use nutrition to perform at their peak and still enjoy life. He says some of the habits and mindsets used by these elite athletes can apply to regular people like us. According to Molloy, following these can help us develop healthier eating practices and attitudes about food.
- Nail the basics- You may think pro athletes take all kinds of supplements and follow peculiar rules for food, but Molloy says that’s not usually the case. There’s a common misconception that all professional athletes have private chefs, but he says only the biggest stars do. Most athletes are just focused on the basics - eating a high-quality diet with minimal processed foods, drinking lots of water and sleeping well.
- Eat to fuel your life- A pro athlete’s livelihood depends on their physical performance, so they’re eating for performance, not appearance. That means food really is fuel for them and that mindset can work for average folks like us as well. Molloy explains that it’s not restriction-based, it’s goal-oriented. So instead of thinking “how can I eat as little as possible,” it’s focusing on how to eat the right amount to be energized all day but not feel sluggish.
- Include your favorite foods … in moderation- Molloy says depending on the athlete and the event, he may ask a client to “really dial in their nutrition” in the days leading up to a competition, but the rest of the time, no foods are off the table. That includes pizza and ice cream and the thing is, he says they don’t feel guilty about it afterwards. “It’s not about never going out for dinner or never eating chocolate, we just build it into their routine,” notes the nutrition coach. He helps them make long-term plans that work for their life, and says, “It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.”