T Nation

Eating for Sprinting


I'm struggling to word this right, but basically I'm unsure about how to approach nutrition for a sprint-based program (with weights too obviously). Currently I'm 180 lbs (around 13 stone), at around 11% body fat.

I don't really understand whether I should be of the mentality of eat big, as this will help boost my strength, fitness, speed etc, or whether I should be aiming to really control and limit my calories as this will really shred off body fat and theoretically increase my weight:power ratio. Or would it be a better idea to just eat at maintenance and let my body 'recompose'?


Are you concerned more about physique improvements or performance improvements? I have read from several sources that studies have attempted to correlate body fat percentages to performance improvements and so far none have been successful.

The long and short of it is if you are concerned about improving your performance, don't worry too much about body fat. Bust your ass and your body will more than likely put itself in the most efficient manor that it needs to be in to sustain the stress that you're putting on it.

I would say eat for the activity that you are performing. If I had to take a stab at it, I would say a 1/3 split of macro-nutrients is a safe bet. You'll get enough carbs to fuel the workouts, protein to support your muscles, and fats to help recover from intense training sessions.

That being said, I have absolutely no experience with track, so I'm sure someone else can give you better information.


While I do agree with the macro split, I do think that the weight-to-power ratio affects your performance. Basically all the very successful sprinters are pretty lean. Success leaves clues, I would think. What I would do is that I would get my body fat down before the competition season and otherwise would try to guarantee that energy intake is sufficient as that would optimize performance and recovery, and thus progress. And I have no track experience either... just from endurance sports in general


I think you already answered your own questions. Find your maintenance intake and focus on improving the quality and variety of your food intake. Once this is ingrained in your daily routine, it is very easy to cut or add quality carbs either to cut or add lean tissue or just to cycle to maximize recomposition at maintenance intake.


Are you training for competition?


I agree that power-to-weight is important, but are sprinters lean because of causation vs. correlation? I think if you are doing a sprinting workout, your body may begin to look like that as your performance improves, as opposed to trying to make your body look like a sprinters and then focus on becoming a good sprinter.


Sprint training is one of the most contentious and over analyzed subjects in sport. Nothing in sport comes close to the analytical scrutiny of the 100M event.
But simply it's all about producing mass specific force which means you need to get as strong as possible but stay as light as possible. How you do this is your decision and there are a million differing opinions on how to best achieve this balance.
You'll hear pyramid arguements, sarcoplasimic hypertrophy vs myofibrial, speed endurance vs speed, anaerobic vs aerobic, a thousand weight training opinions, not to mention a thousand differing sprint technique opinions.

You have to do your own research and decide what is best for you, but put very simply, you need to get strong, do speed work and keep your weight down.