The Nutrition Hierarchy [How To Set Up a Proper Nutrition Plan]

Get your priorities in check.

When it comes to nutrition, I see a lot of athletes spending way too much time worrying about the minutia when they could be getting far more benefit from simply mastering the fundamentals…

And it pains me so much to see this because I know you’re working hard in the gym…

But remember, over here we work hard AND smart…

In today’s blog, I’m going to teach you how to know what will actually matter in your journey and what you can disregard…

A good way to visualize this is as a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is what’s going to get you the biggest bang for your buck. As you move higher and higher up the pyramid, those things still matter to some extent, but not nearly as much as the fundamentals at the base of the pyramid…

At the base of your nutrition period is adherence, or how well you can actually stick to your plan. This one is quite straightforward. I don’t care what your plan is; if you can’t actually stick to it, it sucks and you need a new one.

[If you want to learn exactly how to build your own nutrition plan for YOU and your goals, click HERE]

A step about adherence on the pyramid is energy balance, or “calories in versus calories out.” A calorie is literally a unit of energy. Much like adherence, energy balance is relatively straightforward…

As an athlete, you must ensure that you are taking in enough energy to support your training and competition demands. This is the first place I look when working with an athlete in my private coaching program. If you’re not consuming enough energy from the food that you eat, your are undoubtedly leaving performance on the table (not good)…

Now, I’m not going super in depth into how to figure out how many calories you need in this blog (more on that in my free eBook), but generally you’ll want to be at maintenance or in a slight surplus to support your performance. Just please, don’t put yourself in a calorie deficit when performance is the top priority (i.e. during your in-season phase)…

Next up in the pyramid are macronutrients, or “macros” for short. Macros are the building blocks of the food that we eat and the are actually where your body gets calories from.

There are 3 macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Each of them have a certain number of calories per gram and each of them have a VERY important function in the body. Whatever you do, do not exclude any particular macro from your diet!

Macros are important because they give us a concrete tool to determine where you are getting calories from. This has major implications on your performance because, like I said, each of the macros have different functions. For example, carbs are a great source of fuel for high intensity activity, whereas fat isn’t as great of a fuel source in that scenario. So, we need to make sure you’re getting plenty of carbs in as an athlete to fuel your training and likely don’t want to rely on fat for this purpose.

Now, fat is very important for other reasons, like hormonal health, nervous system health, and more. So, like I said before, we don’t want to exclude it from your diet. We simply want to be aware of the different functions of each macro in order to maximize your performance and recovery as an athlete.

[To learn how to set up your own macro prescription for optimal performance, click HERE]

Moving on to the next step up the pyramid, we have micronutrients. Micros are vitamins and minerals that your body needs for a number of different functions. Unlike macros, your body doesn’t actually get calories from micros. But, that doesn’t mean that they’re unimportant!

Yes, food is fuel for athletes. However, you don’t want to force your body to run on low quality fuel…

Think of your body like a Lambo. Sure, it could probably run on low grade fuel, since fuel is fuel. But, is it going to last for very long without issues popping up? Probably not…

It’s the same for your body. Can it run on low quality, nutrient-sparse foods? Yes, it can. Calories are calories. But by relying on low quality foods, your setting yourself up for suboptimal recovery and potential injury/illness.

So, long story short, get your fruits, veggies, and whole foods in to support your recovery as an athlete!

Next, we have nutrient timing. This refers to how you timing your meals and how you time specific macros throughout the day.

For the typical general population client, this would be starting to get into the minutia. However, as an athlete, I would still consider this part of the fundamentals. Knowing how to time your meals around your training and competition will go a long way in supporting optimal performance and recovery.

Like calories, I’m not going to go too deep into how to set these meals up; for more on that, click here to access my free eBook that lays it all out for you.

In this blog, I simply want you to understand the importance of this!

Lastly, we have supplements. This section of the blog is gonna be relatively brief because I would much rather you focus on the other things that we discussed. For the most part, you’ll get much more bang for your buck by focusing on things like calorie intake, macros, food quality and timing, etc than you will by stressing over which supplements to take.

With that being said, there are some foundational supplements that are helpful for athletes and I do recommend these to the athletes that I work with. They include, Vitamin D, fish oil, creatine, magnesium, and a multivitamin.

Now, you do NOT have to take these. But you have nothing to lose by doing so. For a deeper breakdown of how to set up your supplement regime, read more in the free eBook!


Hopefully you now have a better understanding or where your priorities should be placed! I promise you, if you master the fundamentals laid out in this blog, your performance as an athlete will improve drastically.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the free ebook for a deeper dive into exactly how to set up your own nutrition plan (the same techniques I use with the athletes I work with inside of the Elite Coaching Program). Click here to get your copy!

And as always, be sure to reach out and let me know if there’s any way that I can help you out!

Talk soon!


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