NSWIS: Balancing Muscle and Body Fat to Create a Champion
The NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) aims to support Australian athletes to become world’s best. As an official NSWIS Performance Partner, Musashi works alongside the Institute’s leading experts and dietitians to assist in the provision of a world class service delivery to athletes.
Sports nutrition can play a key role in the success of an athlete’s career and Musashi continues to impact a wide range of NSWIS athletes, as detailed in our case studies.
Balancing muscle and body fat to create a Champion
Max Housden is an NSWIS track cycling scholarship holder and an exciting future prospect for the Australian Cycling Team. With years of success at a NSW, Australian and Oceanic level of competition, Max is determined to find every possible performance advantage to support his continued development and cement a pathway to international representation.
Identifying performance Improvements
Track sprint cycling utilises a combination of exceptional strength, power, tactics and courage to perform repeated, short-duration, maximal exertions in the velodrome. Training for the sport involves high-intensity max efforts with long recovery periods and is complimented by a resistance program targeting strength, power and lean muscle gain. Due to the nature of the sport, the optimal physique of athletes is a relatively high percentage of muscle to low percentage of body fat in order to optimise their power:weight ratio and maximise speed.
Max has always had a diligent focus on his diet to help improve his training outcomes however health issues in 2018-19 resulted in some unintentional body fat gain. He then needed to reassess his dietary intake in order to regain muscle and reduce body fat to ultimately ensure he was as fast as possible on the bike.
To meet this goal, NSWIS dietitians considered the protein requirements of sprint cyclists, which range from approximately 1.6-1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. This range allows for optimal recovery as well as muscle and strength gain.
As Max was also hoping to lose weight, he needed to find a balance of sufficient protein and daily energy intake to ensure he could preserve muscle mass in an energy deficit. Aiming for a slightly higher daily protein intake of up to 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight made his daily protein target ~190 grams per day.
Working with NSWIS dietitians, Max reviewed his diet to allow for a nutrient dense variety of foods while also planning the timing and intake of his protein options throughout the day.
Musashi 100% Whey was added to his diet and post training regime to help him achieve the daily protein goal. The Musashi product is a convenient, high-quality protein source with the inclusion of targeted amino acids (specifically leucine). Consuming 2-3 grams of leucine following resistance training ensures muscle and strength gains are optimised.
As Musashi 100% Whey is low in carbohydrates and total energy, it provides Max flexibility and control over his carbohydrate intake. This suits his training demands by allowing sufficient protein delivery while staying within the tighter energy budget required to lose body fat.
The convenience and taste also made this a welcome inclusion to his day, during which Max works a physical job with often limited break times. It also ensured he gets his six protein doses (~20-30g) every day, where he previously may only have grabbed a low protein snack on the run.
To further support Max’s training demands and performance goals, Musashi Creatine was incorporated. Creatine indirectly supplies the body with ‘ATP’; the body’s energy currency, and a supplement with one of the strongest evidence bases for improved performance and recovery.
By supplementing with creatine, the body’s ATP supply is prolonged during high intensity exercise, thus delaying fatigue onset. This is particularly important for sports like sprint cycling due to the repeated bouts of maximum efforts they need to do in a training session. It means trainings are more effective and consistent as a faster recovery means the athlete can train harder for longer.
Max introduced the creatine by first completing a ‘loading’ phase, whereby he consumed four doses of 5g creatine for 5 days, thereby saturating the muscle. Following this, he commenced a ‘maintenance’ phase where for six weeks he consumed one dose of 5g creatine per day with carbohydrates for increased absorption into the muscle.
In the two months leading into the New South Wales Track Cycling Championships, regular body composition monitoring and dietary adjustments were connected with strength assessments in the gym. The results illustrated Max had improved his strength while simultaneously losing ~3kg; largely from a reduction in body fat. The nutrition interventions used supported peak performance as Max went onto become the 2020 NSW Sprint Champion while continue to develop as one of Australia’s most exciting sprint prospects.
This sports hydration case study and associated intervention was conducted by NSWIS Dietitian, Holly Edstein. Holly is a passionate Accredited Sports Dietitian and ISAK Accredited Anthropometrist. She holds a Masters of Nutrition & Dietetics degree and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise & Sport Science) from the University of Sydney.