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Although most people now recognise that sports nutrition involves a personalised approach tailored to the specific needs of the event and the individual, there is still a perception that the athlete’s goal is to develop an optimal meal plan (for example, a swimmer’s diet or Swimmer X’s diet), then carefully repeat it each day to provide consistent support for their training and competition goals. However, contemporary sports nutrition guidelines promote the benefits of a periodised approach to intake energy and macronutrient intake, with each athlete following a range of different dietary practices aligned to the different phases of their training cycles, competition calendars or career progress. Although there is no single or unified definition of the term ‘dietary periodisation’, Table 9.1 summarises four different themes that involve a strategic manipulation of nutrient intake between and within days to optimise athletic performance. Since the principles and practices of arranging nutrient intake around training/event sessions (intake pre-, during and post-session) are covered in Chapter 10, this chapter will review and summarise the evidence and application of the other three periodisation themes.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Book Chapter

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