A headshot of Peta Carige, a sports dietitian.CategoriesFooty Tips Promo other business

From Endurance to Explosiveness: Customizing Energy Periodization for Diverse Athlete Needs with Peta Carige

Peta Carige Sports Dietitian

1. Can you explain what periodization is and how it relates to nutrition for athletes?

Periodisation is when the nutrient requirements of an athlete are optimised or altered to match the type of training they are doing. The nutrient requirements can relate to their supplementation or simply their macronutrient profile or focus. You can periodise nutrition against a ‘macro cycle’ so a block of training or you might do ‘micro periodisation’ and alter the daily intake of an athlete or even what they eat around different training sessions across the week.

2. How do you determine the specific energy needs of different sports and athletes?

This is difficult to explain. The gold standard is by measuring it using RMR and calculations of their energy expenditure, but in practice, it is often firstly by ensuring you have a thorough understanding of their energy expenditure in training across all modalities and sessions. Then you will take into consideration their training age, their goals, and their history. For example, if they are trying to gain muscle mass and have a nine-year training age, then they will require considerably more energy than a second-year athlete who is just looking for body composition optimisation.

3. What are some common mistakes athletes make when it comes to their nutrition, and how can they avoid them?

The most common mistake is a lack of preparation with their nutrition snacks for around training. This can be due to a lack of knowledge or a lack of shopping. My number one tip is to always have emergency snacks, that don’t go off such as canned fish, muesli bars, popcorn, ‘fava beans’, etc in every training bag you have. Also, I strongly encourage athletes to schedule two shopping trips per week, as they often run out of snacks and fresh fruit at the back end of the week.

4. How do you ensure athletes are properly fuelled for training and competition?

The cool thing about this is that we often have data these days to show if the athlete’s training is consistently at a high standard. The way I educate the athlete to identify this is by asking if the quality of their training is the same on a Monday as a Friday. Also, how they recover and back up from back-to-back training is often a good indicator of whether they are nailing their fuelling and recovery around training from food.


 5. How do you approach nutrition for athletes with specific dietary restrictions or preferences?

You have to work with all restrictions and preferences. Luckily in team sports, I feel like the rate of allergies is quite low. Those with specific food preferences are often well educated about nutrition and they have to be committed to allocating time to food preparation as they require a lot more time in the kitchen.

6. What are some of the best recovery foods and supplements for athletes?

HIT THE SHOPS! There are so many great snacks and portable foods for athletes these days. I recommend allocating a solid hour to browsing the shops thoroughly. Start in the tinned fish section, where there are amazing fish and rice, fish and bean cans that are portable and super high in fibre and protein, and carbohydrates, so ideal for recovery. There are amazing yogurts these days, high protein muesli bars, flavoured chickpeas, and even pre-made bliss balls. My all-time favourite food for training though is fruit, it contains the carbohydrate you need for energy, but also the vitamins and minerals you need to keep you healthy, so always start in the fresh fruit section.

7. How do you help athletes adjust their nutrition plan during competition season versus off-season?

There is a big difference as athletes change to in-season. The overall change is number of sessions often reduces so they need to be educated on how to change their daily nutrition based on more days and time off. This is their micro periodisation plan. They also need to ensure that they are confident when it comes to their game-day nutrition and recovery plans. In a very simplified example, often their carbohydrate intake reduces, and a focus on protein intake and its distribution increases. Leading up to games it changes again and is a combination of what works for the athlete as an individual and optimising fuelling for each game. Post-game the 24-48 hours post-game is vital to optimise recovery and in an ideal world, every athlete should have their own recovery plan as well that sets them target carbohydrate, fluid, and protein targets for the 24 hours post-game.

To get in contact with Peta check out her website:


Episode 234 – How to periodize for different energy needs depending on the sport and athletes

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Elevating Performance with Gold Coast Suns’ Expert Performance Dietitian, Ben Parker

Get ready to elevate your knowledge of elite sports nutrition with Ben Parker, Sports Dietitian of the Gold Coast Suns. Join us on December 14th at 8 pm AEST for this exclusive masterclass. Limited spots are available, so click the button below to claim your spot and unlock the secrets to peak performance!

Unleashing Football Potential: The Incredible Value of Performance Nutrition!

In the realm of elite sports, every minute detail contributes to the edge that separates champions from the rest. One such integral element is nutrition – the fuel that powers athletes to push beyond their limits and attain peak performance. At the forefront of this nutritional revolution stands Ben Parker, a seasoned Dietitian and professional Chef, who has ingeniously merged his culinary expertise with nutritional science to transform the Gold Coast Suns into an athletic powerhouse. With a captivating background and a wealth of experience, Ben Parker has taken the reins as the head of nutrition at the Gold Coast football club, spearheading the creation of a holistic nutrition program that is redefining the very concept of high-performance eating habits.

A Master of the Culinary Craft:

Ben is both a Dietitian and professional Chef, this unique combination empowers him to weave together the science of nutrition and the art of cooking, offering athletes not only meals that nourish but also tantalize the taste buds. He crafts nutrition solutions that transcend the mundane, turning each dish into a delectable masterpiece. Ben’s culinary prowess elevates the Gold Coast Suns’ nutrition program from mere sustenance to an experience that athletes eagerly anticipate. Central to Ben’s role as head of nutrition is the comprehensive nutrition program he’s architecting for the Gold Coast football club. His ingenuity shines through in the meticulous planning of meals and snacks around critical training sessions. These meals aren’t just nourishing; they’re meticulously designed to exemplify high-performance eating habits, providing athletes with the energy and nutrients required to excel on the field.

Empowerment through Knowledge:

One glance at Ben’s profile and it’s evident that he’s not just a chef or a dietitian – he’s an educator. The nutrition program extends beyond the plate, encompassing group and individual nutrition education sessions. Ben empowers athletes with the knowledge, teaching them the significance of each nutrient, the impact of their choices, and the science behind their meals. This transformational approach fosters a sense of ownership over their dietary habits, amplifying the program’s impact on and off the field. Ben Parker’s influence transcends traditional boundaries. His nutrition program doesn’t just end with education and meals; it’s a holistic journey. The ongoing nutrition counseling he provides ensures athletes have a steady support system to navigate their dietary choices. Cooking classes impart practical skills that extend beyond their sporting careers, shaping their lifelong relationship with food. The game-day nutrition and supplement support guarantee that each athlete steps onto the field with an optimal nutritional advantage. Elite Habits, On and Off the Field: The philosophy Ben Parker has etched into the Gold Coast Suns’ nutrition program isn’t just about in-game success – it’s about nurturing elite habits in every facet of life. By merging his culinary flair, nutritional science, and educational prowess, he’s sculpting a new generation of athletes who understand that their bodies are temples deserving of the finest nourishment. A Legacy that Extends Beyond: Beyond his pivotal role with the Gold Coast Suns, Ben Parker continues to leave his mark on the world of elite sports. His involvement with elite athletes during training camps and competitive campaigns showcases his unwavering commitment to elevating performance through nutrition. This legacy is a testament to his enduring passion for helping athletes reach their full potential. In conclusion, Ben Parker isn’t just a Performance Dietitian; he’s a visionary who’s revolutionizing the way athletes perceive nutrition. With his culinary creativity, scientific acumen, and educational zeal, he’s transforming meals into moments of empowerment and fueling the Gold Coast Suns’ journey to athletic excellence.

Visit: Ben Parker today and unlock your true football potential. Prepare to be inspired, motivated, and equipped with AFL recipes and tools to take your game to the next level!

Watch the founder of Prepare Like a Pro interviewing Ben Parker:

Episode 32- Ben Parker
Jack McLean holding a banana while giving a presentation on nutrition, flanked by images of healthy foods and a weighing scale.CategoriesGet Better Plan

Episode 15 – Nutrition, how to best lose body fat without dieting

Get ready to elevate your knowledge of elite sports nutrition with Ben Parker, Sports Dietitian of the Gold Coast Suns. Join us on December 14th at 8 pm AEST for this exclusive masterclass. Limited spots are available, so click the button below to claim your spot and unlock the secrets to peak performance!

Topics we discussed:

  • 00:00 Fuel for body
  • 00:51 Food diary
  • 01:38 The Simple Things Checklist
  • 02:36 5 food groups
  • 03:20 Fuel: the athlete way

Fueling Your Body: The Secrets to Losing Body Fat Without Dieting

In our quest for a healthier body and improved performance, the concept of “dieting” often comes to mind. However, in this podcast episode, we’re going to shift our perspective and embrace the idea of fueling our bodies for optimal results. Join us as we explore the art of nutrition and discover how to lose body fat without resorting to strict diets. This episode will provide valuable insights and practical tips to help you make sustainable changes to your eating habits. So, let’s dive in! Understanding the Power of Fuel: When it comes to nourishing our bodies, the term “fuel” resonates more strongly than “diet.” Eating with the mindset of fueling our bodies allows us to focus on performance and long-term well-being rather than simply satisfying our appetite. Our food choices influence our cravings, and breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. By consciously fueling our bodies with nutritious foods, we create a positive cycle of healthy eating. Keeping a Food Diary: To heighten our awareness of our eating habits, it’s beneficial to maintain a food diary. Every couple of months, it’s a good practice to jot down what we eat and drink throughout the day. This diary serves as a tool for self-reflection and enables us to pinpoint areas that need improvement. Whether it’s through taking photos or writing in a journal, recording our food intake allows us to evaluate our choices and make necessary adjustments. The Three Pillars of Optimal Nutrition: To fuel our training and support our body’s needs, there are three fundamental aspects that we should focus on. The beauty of these pillars lies in their simplicity and accessibility. They don’t require fancy equipment or substantial financial investments; rather, they demand a little time, energy, and organizational skills in food preparation. Let’s explore these pillars in detail:
  1. Hydration: The importance of drinking plenty of water cannot be overstated. Staying hydrated aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall bodily functions. Make it a habit to keep a water bottle by your side and sip throughout the day to maintain optimal hydration levels.
  2. Limit Processed Foods: Processed foods often contain a plethora of additives, preservatives, and unhealthy ingredients. As a general rule, if a product has more than five ingredients (excluding trail mixes), it is likely a processed food. Minimizing our consumption of processed foods helps us avoid unnecessary additives and focuses our diet on whole, natural ingredients.
  3. Balancing the Five Food Groups: To create a well-rounded diet, it’s essential to incorporate foods from all five food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy. Each group offers unique benefits, such as energy from complex carbohydrates, immune system support from fruits and vegetables, and muscle maintenance or growth from protein. Strive to include at least four out of the five food groups in your meals, aiming for a balanced distribution throughout the day.
Embracing the Athlete Way of Eating: Incorporating the principles of the “athlete way of eating” can help us achieve nutrient density and foster a healthier relationship with food. By aligning our breakfast and lunch with the same nutrient-rich choices typically reserved for dinner, we boost our overall nutrient intake. This approach helps us maintain consistency in our eating habits, elevating our nutrient density over time. Conclusion: Fueling our bodies instead of dieting allows us to prioritize our overall well-being and performance. By implementing the three pillars of optimal nutrition and embracing the athlete way of eating, we can make sustainable changes to our dietary habits. Remember, it’s not about temporary diets or restrictions; it’s about nourishing our bodies with the right nutrients for long-term success. So, let’s reframe

Take your AFLW performance to new heights with the Nutrition for AFLW e-book. Created by renowned Advanced Sports Dietitian Jess Spendlove, this comprehensive guide is specifically designed to help female athletes plan, prepare, and time their nutrition for optimal footy performance.

Drawing from her experience working with the GWS GIANTS AFLW team, including her role as Head of Nutrition in 2019 and 2020, Jess provides invaluable insights and practical strategies to support your athletic journey.

Inside the 76-page e-book, you’ll discover:

  • CHAPTER 1: Building Healthy Meals & Performance Snacks
  • CHAPTER 2: Adjusting Intake for Training
  • CHAPTER 3: Managing Nutrition & Injury
  • CHAPTER 4: Nutrition For Female Athletes
  • CHAPTER 5: Timing of Meals
  • CHAPTER 6: Nailing Your Game Day Fuel – including a game day guide and preparation tips
  • CHAPTER 7: Meal Planning for Your Training Week
  • CHAPTER 8: Household Staples
  • CHAPTER 9: Simple Recipes for Athletes

Whether you’re an aspiring AFLW athlete, a seasoned player, or a coach looking to enhance your team’s performance, this e-book is a must-have resource. Fuel your body with the right nutrients and gain a competitive edge on the field.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to elevate your game. Click the link below to get your copy of the Nutrition for AFLW e-book and unlock the secrets to peak performance in AFLW.

[Download Now] 

Invest in your performance. Get your copy of the Nutrition for AFLW e-book today and fuel your success on the footy field.