Putting the A Back in ADIME

Scott Littlefield MS, CN, CISSN

Whether you have one athlete or five hundred looking to you to help them improve performance, the first step is the same: determining how their intake compares to optimal.

From here you can prioritize limiting factors to success, low hanging fruit, the biggest bang for their buck, what they’re ready for, and what kind of interventions they need.

If an athlete is sitting in front of you asking for your help to put on lean mass, do you just start throwing random tips, strategies, and recommendations at them or do you first ask questions to understand what their current needs and habits and intake look like so you can guide a clear, targeted approach? Having more than one athlete doesn’t change the right answer. (It may make acting on it more difficult, but it doesn’t change it.)

Giving directions to someone without a clear understanding of their origin or destination means you work hard to provide a lot of information they don’t need, don’t understand, or aren’t prepared to apply. Would you use a GPS system if it shouted a turn at you that you already made or one that was five turns ahead? Or if it gave you directions for someone else traveling from Dallas? Or if it wasn’t able to sense that you were off track and direct you as to how to get going again? Your athletes probably wouldn't use it either.

So do you pump out plate models, food suggestions, nutrient timing strategies, and supplement recommendations without being able to answer basic questions regarding athletes’ actual intake and optimal intake?

  • What are the energy needs for each of my athletes today? How many will meet needs and how many won’t? Who and why? How many are low energy availability?

  • How many of my athletes are currently trying to change their body composition? How many should or shouldn’t be? How many are struggling? How many are having trouble reconciling nutrient timing recommendations with daily intake to alter body composition?

  • Which of my athletes meet carbohydrate needs within 1 g/kg? How many fall short? How many are moving in the right direction?

  • How many athletes can describe and recognize if they meet their nutrition needs on a daily basis? How many athletes can I recognize meet their nutrition needs on a daily basis?

It's tough in group settings, but before rushing to intervene, rush to assess. Better assessments will make for clear priorities and more targeted and efficient interventions, which in turn lead to quicker, more impactful results.

Fuelogics is here to help eliminate the unknown and put the A back in ADIME.

Scott Littlefield MS, CN, CISSN

Scott co-owns a private practice - ViTL Nutrition - where he works one-on-one with athletes as well as with programs from high school to professional levels across the country. He is a founding member of Fuelogics. These days you'll likely find him testing the boundaries of strength, size, and the mile-run or the limits of human taco consumption.

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