Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports

The review of the Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports by Lyle McDonald, a go-to-guy when it comes to nutrition. Lyle is the “both~and” thinking expert on training and nutrition and I find his site worth reading and following closely.


Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports
Lyle McDonald

What does this product claim?

Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports examines the topic of nutrition for what are referred to as mixed sports. This includes almost all team sports along with many individual sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts and some track and field events.

Basically any sport that has requirements for both endurance and strength/power is considered a mixed sport. Because of the often odd nature of performance requirements, optimizing nutrition for these sports often presents problems that aren’t seen in either the pure strength/power or pure endurance sports.

The book, as well as the accompanying 2 DVD set, approaches the problem in an applied fashion building up the topic of nutrition from the ground up to present a comprehensive examination of how mixed sports athletes can optimize their nutrition.

This product started life as a seminar I did in Vancouver at Simon Fraser University in 2009 for their football and soccer teams on applied sports nutrition.  But rather than just slap the DVD together with the handouts and slides, I decided to write a complete stand alone book (derived primarily from the handouts).  Of course, the original DVD seminar is included along with the Powerpoint slides and the full package includes everything shown below


Binding\Design\Paper Quality

The „Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports“ include two books and two DVDs. The first book is the guide book and can be considered  the core of this nutritional package.

Guide/Manual comes in soft cover and A4 format with two DVDs that are attached on the inside of the front page.  Paper is high quality and the font is large (12pts) with large line spacing, which allows for easier reading. There is decent number of black-and-white figures and tables which are very well organized and easy to understand. The Guide/Manual is organized into 14 short chapters and it has about 80 pages. The content of the Guide/Manual book is the following:


Chapter 1: Some Unapplied Theory

Chapter 2: General and Performance Nutrition

Chapter 3: Energy Intake

Chapter 4: Dietary Protein

Chapter 5: Dietary Fat

Chapter 6: Dietary Carbohydrates

Chapter 7: Vitamins and Minerals

Chapter 8: Meal Planning

Chapter 9: Around Workout/Competition Nutrition

Chapter 10: Hydration and Cramping

Chapter 11: Supplements

Chapter 12: Changing Body Composition

Chapter 13: Putting it All Together

Chapter 14: The End

The second book is Companion Slides book that comes in soft cover with spiral bond and it is in A4 format.  Font is smaller compared to Guide/Manual book, but still readable. Companion Slides as it name suggests is a print-out of presentation slides from the seminar  author did in Vancouver at Simon Fraser University in 2009 for their football and soccer teams on applied sports nutrition. Slides are printed out only on one side of page in landscape orientation, so you need to rotate the book to keep reading. One page contains 4 slides and there are about 20 pages.  Companion Slides book makes following and watching seminar on DVDs very easy. Companion Slides book is organized into 8 modules that follow the DVD content which lasts about 3 hours:

Disk 1

Module 1: Introduction + A Little Unapplied Theory (12:41)

Module 2: General and Performance Nutrition (35:32)

Module 3: Meal Planning (14:19)

Module 4: Around Workout Nutrition (32:13)


Disk 2

Module 5: Hydration and Cramping (15:43)

Module 6: Supplements (39:23)

Module 7: Changing Body Composition (18:22)

Module 8: Putting it All Together (11:03)


The print and the design of the books and DVDs cover is very well done thanks to Jazz Kalsi.


Chapter 1: Some Unapplied Theory.  In this chapter author explains his sports continuum concept, and place different sports on different part of the strength/power~endurance continuum.  Basically, author argues about nutritional advices that are one-size fits all and that don’t take into account the context. Understanding sports continuum gives you the ability to see the forest from the trees and take context into account which other nutritional books don’t offer. 

Chapter 2: General and Performance Nutrition. In this chapter author goes further to explain very important nutritional concepts, that includes (1) The Hierarchy of Nutritional Requirements, (2) Components of Daily Nutrition and (3) General Nutrition Tendencies. Hierarchy of nutritional requirement is the basis of this manual, basically putting the most important things at the base of the pyramid and then progressing to the top with less important things.

Chapter 3: Energy Intake. In this chapter you are going to know how to set up your starting daily caloric intake depending on your body mass and the activity level. I said starting caloric intake because, there is trial and error in this method and monitoring your composition and energy level (performance) is the only way to get some feedback with which you can modify your overall nutrient intake mostly by manipulating carbohydrate consumption.

Chapter 4: Dietary Protein. Roles of dietary protein are explained in this chapter, along with daily requirements for the athletes and types of protein (where to get it; in what food). This chapter includes a discussion on protein powders too.

Chapter 5: Dietary Fat. In this chapter, author goes into dietary fat roles in the body, daily needs and types of dietary fat.

Chapter 6: Dietary Carbohydrates. Similar to previous chapter, author goes into roles of carbohydrates in the body, daily recommendations and provides simple, real-world classification of dietary carbohydrates.

Chapter 7: Vitamins and Minerals. Author explain the nuts and bolts function of vitamins and minerals in human body and provides short list of common deficiencies in athletes.

Chapter 8: Meal Planning. With the basic concepts covered, the author goes into meal planning utilizing his modular approach, how to track calories (which he recommend during first couple of days, even weeks), eyeballing portions, common content of protein, fat and carbohydrates in different food and portions. To be honest, this is the weakest part of the book and author himself admits it, which is nice of him. Anyway, this is not a cookbook (if you want one get Gourmet Nutrition by John Berardi), but as I said it is a manual for average college/pro athlete that wants to gain basic nutritional knowledge and use simple approach to plan modular meals. How much of you are really cooking gourmet stuff anyway? In campus, at home?

Chapter 9: Around Workout/Competition Nutrition. With overall daily nutrition covered, now it is a time to move to upper level of hierarchy of nutrition requirements and that is around workout/competition nutrition. This is my favorite part of the book and worth the price of the book.  Author covers goals of around workout nutrition and split them into four phases: pre-workout nutrition, immediate pre-workout nutrition, during workout nutrition, post-workout nutrition. This chapter is full of practical tips including competition nutrition and putting this all together in real world. Yes, that mean a bunch of protein shakes, and I love it. Milk, whey/milk protein, banana, pb, omega 3, creatine and you are golden. Tastes better than Starbucks too.

Chapter 10: Hydration and Cramping. Author covers hydration myths, gauging fluid requirements and cramping issues.

Chapter 11: Supplements. With overall daily nutrition and around workout nutrition covered, next step in authors hierarchy are supplements. This is the part of the book that is worth the whole price of it, same as around workout nutrition chapter. Trust me, the book is expensive, but this chapter will save your money in the long term by avoiding bro science B.S. and stuff that doesn’t work or works very little with a lot of money invested. In this chapter you will learn how to get the biggest bang for your bucks and how to save them for better purposes (college athletes: parties, chicks, books? I am kidding about the last one). Author uses another hierarchy pyramid (I noticed author’s strange affection toward pyramids and triangles. All we need is the eye in the pyramid in the book) that classify the supplements for (1)general use supplements (which form the base of the… drums please… pyramid), (2) performance supplements and (3) Esoterica (or B.S.). If I am free to notice, and nitpick author I must admit that word esoterica and pictures of pyramids on the same page may yields some strange conclusions? Sect maybe, or too much Robert Anton Wilson? I am just kidding of course. In this chapter and in the companion seminar you will find no B.S. tips and really good information that is very hard to find out there. Author is not trying to sell you anything, except his great knowledge, so basically he has no bias. Author even recommend the way how to get to your supplement cheaper by ordering in bulk from trusted companies he listed.

 Chapter 12: Changing Body Composition. In this chapter there is a short summary of basic principles of muscle gaining, fat loss and doing both at the same time. Author references his site for free articles, which are IMHO the best out there regarding nutrition, body recomposition and training. Still, some good info and a starting point for people who still believe in bro science out there.

Chapter 13: Putting it All Together. In this chapter there is an example of two training days of the author and the nutrition planning during the day. Yup, real life s*it. There is also, a sample meal plan for 60kg female athlete and 100kg male athlete utilizing author’s modular approach just to show how everything covered in the book fits together in a real life example.

Chapter 14: The End. A reference to companion DVD and slides, along with author’s site and forum (he have two forums: a good forum and an evil forum. Yup, eye in the pyramid  :).

Final Thoughts

I remember posting an idea at author’s forum, after I have finished soccer season as head strength and conditioning coach in Belgrade/Serbia around 2007., about creating a basic nutrition booklet for my soccer players. To be honest, I planned to write something similar (basically stealing from author’s articles, books and conversation). Although I don’t think I motivated author to write this awesome manual or provided him with ideas, I am really thankful to author for writing this manual. I don’t think I could done the better job. I may plan to translate it one day to be used in Serbia or quote it heavily in a book I plan to write.

The package is pricey. But it is worth every penny. It is full of real life info and full of hidden tips that worth millions. I really recommend this package for every coach and athlete interested in sports nutrition and nutrition in general. There is no similar book in the market. Five out of five stars. Great job Lyle!

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