While many understand the value of nutrition on game day or around a major competition, it is the work that goes on behind the scenes that really lays the foundation for an athlete’s success. At Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) the sport nutrition team works year-round to ensure that when our athlete’s land in Rio, they are prepared to fuel their performances straight to the podium.
For many of our athletes it starts with access to the right foods at the right time around their training, allowing them to recover and prepare for their next session. To help fuel our athletes, the CSIO provides a recovery bar in our athlete lounge stocked with the high performance fuel our athletes require before and after their training sessions. In addition, the athletes work individually with their sport nutritionist to customize their nutrition plan so they know the foods to choose, when to eat them and the amount they should be eating to optimize the impact on their training.
The education continues from the training environment into the home, where the athletes make the bulk of their nutrition choices. Small group cooking sessions run by our team of sport nutrition experts are focused on teaching athletes how to plan and prepare for the busy schedules and varying dietary requirements of their sports. This year, the Wheelchair Basketball Canada National Academy athletes received education on everything from cooking on a budget, to eating on the road, to using specific foods to help reduce muscle damage and improve recovery. They were taught how to plan, shop, prepare and cook to support the high demands of their training loads. And, at the end of the year they had the opportunity to put their skills to the test by facing off in an Iron Chef competition to prove they could handle themselves just as well in the kitchen, as they do on the basketball court!
After solidifying the foundation of good nutrition, our sport nutrition team also helps our athletes reach their ultimate potential with specialized strategies to enhance performance outcomes. Over the past 9 months the women’s track endurance cyclists have been finalizing their personalized pre-race nutrition plans, including acute supplementation strategies based on standardized trials and performance testing. In individualizing each cyclists program, the sport nutritionist considers each athletes’ requests and specific requirements to ensure every rider has what is required to maximize the team’s performance in the race to the podium.
At the CSIO we live a “food first” mentality – educating our athletes on the power of a solid foundational diet that starts with a variety of whole foods and includes proper timing and amounts to optimize training. We believe in arming each individual athlete with the knowledge, resources, and skills to successfully fuel their bodies and then work with them to tailor specific performance enhancing strategies that give them a competitive advantage over their opponents. When they touch down on Brazilian soil, our athletes will be fueled for gold!
About Canadian Sport Institute Ontario
Located at the new Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, a legacy facility of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) is a non-profit organization committed to the pursuit of excellence by providing world-class programs, services, and leadership to high performance athletes and coaches to enhance their ability to achieve international podium performances. CSIO offers athletes a range of sport science and sport medicine services including nutrition, physiology, biomechanics, strength & conditioning, mental performance, sport therapy and life services. CSIO also delivers programming and services to National and Provincial Sport Organizations and coaches to work towards building a stronger sport system in Ontario and Canada.
CSIO services approximately 700 high performance athletes and 250 coaches, at its main facility at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, its satellite location at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, and in daily training environments across Ontario. CSIO is part of a larger network of 4 institutes and 3 multi-sport centres across the country known as the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network, working in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee. CSIO is further supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Sport Canada, Own the Podium, and the Coaching Association of Canada, along with the National and Provincial Sport Organizations within the sector.
Nicole Springle, MAN, RD - Lead, Sport Nutrition
Christine Dziedzic, RD - Sport Nutritionist