Maxim Tsvetkov: Biathlete and Sports Nutritionist
Nutrition is a very important component of a professional athlete’s success. Russia’s Maxim Tsvetkov has been studying nutrition for years and knows this well. It started when he joined Russia’s A-team back in 2011. “I have been interested in sports nutrition since I was 24, but I plunged into the topic when I made it to the A-team. I realized that I had some issues. During the season I was losing weight; sometimes I had no energy during training, so I decided to study sports nutrition.”
He realized something needed to change. “When I analyzed my diet, I realized that I consumed the right amount of calories, but a lot of it was junk food snacks like chips or cola or cookies. Now I try to have bigger meals and snack less. If I do, I have crisp breads, nuts or fruits.”
Revamping his eating habits and diet might have been one of the keys to success for the young biathlete. He had the first podium of his career in the 2016 Antholz sprint and last season was second in Östersund pursuit.
Tsvetkov emphasized the importance of nutrition. “Food is a human’s main energy source and crucial to recovery after exercise. Fast recovery is important for athletes, like us who train two times a day. On top of this, the food you eat affects your feeling and your mood.”
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Tsvetkov started reading nutrition books to get more information on a healthy diet for athletes; studying them in training camps and at competitions.
“There is tons of information on the internet; it would be difficult to digest it all. Instead, I monitor book reviews and select only famous authors. I constantly read literature on nutrition, but I keep coming back to certain books to review and freshen up my knowledge. With such a wide selection of literature on sports nutrition you have to keep your reading list updated.”
He has also talked to sports nutritionists. “Sometimes nutrition specialists consult with our team. It’s good to have consultations, instead of an on-site nutritionist which would result in tough diet regimes; some athletes would revolt against that.”
Seminars and Consultations
Over time, Tsvetkov’s hobby has grown on a different scale. He now lectures on healthy meals for athletes to various groups.
“When I was started studying sports nutrition, my original goal was not only to learn about it for myself, but also to inform others. There is not much information out there, and not many professional athletes follow a healthy diet. I hold seminars at children sport schools for young athletes and their parents. It is very important to inform parents of young athletes on sport nutrition. “
Tsvetkov also exchanges his nutrition expertise with other teams and sports. “Recently I had a chat about nutrition with a speed skater on social media. He saw my Instagram post and asked what I would recommend for him.”
He shared his advice to younger athletes. “Most people think of diet as “limitations.” I think of it differently. There should be a balance. For young athletes, I would recommend staying hydrated by drinking enough water during and after training, a minimum of two liters of just still water, without gas. It is also important to get enough complex carbs, like grains or pasta, and less sugars and sweets.”
Top photo: Andrey Anosov, RBU