Episode 27: Michael Naylor – Nutritional Strategies to Gain a Competitive Edge

Episode 27 Michael Naylor – Nutritional Strategies to Gain a Competitive Edge

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In this episode, Michael Naylor, the Head of Performance Nutrition at the English Institute of Sport, reveals what nutritional strategies really work to increase your performance and gain a competitive edge in any area of life. Elliot and Michael discuss how he works backward to create nutritional plans that fit his client’s individual needs while optimizing their performance. Listen in to hear an expert share the truth about popular diets – and learn the best way to fuel your own life’s purpose.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[01:00] – Introducing Michael, the head of Performance Nutrition at the English Institute of Sport who has worked with international football, rugby, and Olympic teams

[01:45] – Michael’s background and journey

[02:00] – He has a degree in Nutrition and got an internship at the English Institute of Sport

[02:45] – He travelled and worked with international teams and was Head of Nutrition for Team GB at the Rio Olympics

[03:50] – Nutritional needs are different in every sport, in every position within a sport, and in every individual

[05:10] – New diets are so common and the messages out there are conflicting and confusing

[06:00] – It comes down to your purpose and goals; from there, a nutritional plan can be put in place to get you to where you want to be

[07:00] – How Michael creates a nutritional plan

[07:15] – He assesses what the athlete is doing that day in training and works backwards from there to support the activity and body

[09:18] – The individual might have dietary restrictions, so Michael works with them to respect those while still getting them to their purpose

[10:30] – The role of supplements

[10:42] – He recommends supplements on occasion, but urges athletes to just eat real food unless they have a deficiency

[11:15] – Even vegans can get their dietary requirements through food; there’s an element of convenience with supplements

[13:05] – Michael’s thoughts on carbohydrate-limiting diets

[13:15] – Every gram of carbohydrate holds about three grams of water so if you limit carbohydrates, you’re limiting water mass, not losing fat mass

[14:00] – It’s all about being in a negative energy balance when wanting to reduce fat mass

[15:45] – General tips for anyone trying to be healthy

[16:00] – Reflect on what you eat and what your goals are and write it down

[16:50] – Educate yourself on basic nutrition and balance your vegetables, fruits, protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates

[17:39] – Build in your carbohydrates based upon your activity level and use free tools like My Fitness Pal to log food

[18:15] – Plan your food based upon your activity and think ahead

[19:00] – Why it’s important to choose lean meat

[19:15] – There’s less calories and saturated fat in lean meat

[19:45] – Subtle changes that make a big impact

[20:10] – Eliminating sugary drinks or snacks; many athletes have a bad habit of drinking sugary drinks

[21:15] – What he sees at the Olympic level

[21:30] – Athletes get great nutritional support in the UK but in the Olympic Village they try to get the athletes to eat McDonald’s and other unhealthy food

[22:42] – The athletes have to get prepared for the village because they are the ones that must make the responsible choice

[24:00] – Performance shifts over time when their nutrition is changed

[25:00] – Every meal is a stimulus in your body; it either maximizes or minimizes your wellness and adaptation

[26:24] – You can gain a competitive edge and increase performance by eating the right foods

[26:35] – Match your nutrition strategies to your purpose

[27:30] – There’s a much simpler approach that’s more effective than eliminating entire groups of food

3 Key Points

  1. Don’t believe in every fad diet – what’s trendy now may not be next year!
  2. Fuel your body based on your purpose.
  3. Food can be used in many ways to increase performance and gain a competitive edge.



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