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  • Nathan Waters

Gluten and Performance


After reading Gem's article she wrote about gluten and your gut it reminded me about an observation I have seen in the gym. After my clients or athletes have had a cheat meal where they often consume some form of wheat whether it be pizza, pasta, etc. they often have a decrease in performance. This decrease in performance often shows itself in a lack of strength but the biggest factor I see is in a loss of coordination and muscle control. In this picture below Marcus had consumed his cheat meal 1 day prior to the session.

Seated Press after gluten exposure Total Health Performance Rugby League Camden Narellan Campbelltown Ingleburn

Now if you take a look at the bar you can see that he definitely doesn't have perfect technique on this exercise. In fact I filmed this set and in it he got out 9 reps at 25 kg, the bar bath was all over the place, the weights end up looking like they will slide off the end of the bar. Now, you might think why did I let the set go on? Well, it was a small experiment that I was conducting in my own mind as I had observed many of my athlete's were struggling with technical issues early in the week that they normally didn't have. I suspected it had something to do with what they were eating over the weekend but wasn't sure as it could be due to many factors. I thought lack of sleep may be one as well, but in this case sleep had not changed, it was just the cheat meal that had.

This image was on the Monday. On the Friday, we performed the same workout. In this Friday workout Marcus performed 12 reps at 30kg and the bar path was much better. You can see this with the alignment of the bar in this next picture.

Seated Press without gluten exposure Total health performance Camden Narellan Ingleburn Campbelltown Rugby League

This is something to consider when assessing where you can improve your athletes performance. Marcus didn't get 10-15% stronger in 5 days time. There has to be other factors at play. After talking to him and assessing his dietary log, noticing a regular drop in performance, led me to think the cheat meal he had been consuming was the problem. After changing it up the following week he was able to repeat this Friday effort.

If you come from the "it fits my calories camp" and you don't care about the quality of food you consume, then you could be leaving a lot of performance gains on the table.

We train for performance.

#gluten #performance #juniordevelopment #cheatmeal #strength

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