Performance Nutrition for Skateboarding: PT4 – Fats

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Fat gets a bad wrap, mostly because we associate that word with the unwanted stuff around our belly. 

Plus, there’s been so much misinformation about fat since it was demonised in the 90s and blamed for all sorts of health problems. We were told low-fat, high-carb was the way to go. 

The truth is, fat is a vital macronutrient that we need in order to maintain good health. Like most things it’s overconsumption that can turn something positive into a negative. This is especially so with some particular types of fats (more on that below).

Although they are down number 4 on the list, just like Wutang Clan, fats ain’t nutting to fuck wit, as they play an important role in the transport of essential vitamins – A,D,E and K – around the body. 

Here’s how those vitamins are relevant to your skating performance:

A – Keeps your eyes healthy and promotes good vision. Perception of timing and vision at speed is crucial when you skate.

D – Assists in keeping your bones strong by boosting calcium absorption. Strong bones help take on big falls.

E – Protects cells by neutralising free radicals. It keeps the cells healthy by keeping the bad stuff out.

K – Important for blood clotting. Crucial for the healing process after big scrapes. 

Now, I talked in my last post about the brain running primarily on glucose for fuel, but here’s where fat kicks that in the nuts: While glucose is the preferred fuel source for the brain, essential fatty acids are a major building block of the brain.

These types of fats are called ‘essential’ because the body can’t make them, which means we must get them from food.

If you think of glucose as the fuel in the car, fats help create the connection between that fuel and the engine. If you have a shit connection, it doesn’t matter how much fuel you have in the tank, the car will run poorly.

This makes essential fats extremely important in the brain’s ability for learning and memory. 

Therefore, it’s extremely important if you want to progress in your skate game. Your ability to compute skills and remember patterns set to land tricks greatly hinges on this.

Told you fats ain’t nuttin’ to fuck wit. 

So, the big question is how much do we need?

Dietary fats should make up 20-35% of total energy (calories) consumed.

Or let’s use the palm method again.

For a list of fats simply choose from the list below:

Now, if you simply aim to get a good blend of the list of fats given and portion them out accordingly, then you will be good to go. But for those looking for a better understanding of fats, why they are often demonised and where the misunderstanding comes from, button up your lab coat and listen to this explanation.

Fats fall into different categories. There is a particular type of fat that is regarded as a “bad fat” which you should aim to stay away from. These are known as saturated fats. This is the type of fat that you will find in fried foods, biscuits, pizza, baked goods – basically, all the tasty shit.

What we want to get more of are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These have often been labelled “good fats” because we want to make these the bulk of our fat consumption. These types of fats will give us the above-mentioned benefits.

Omega 3s (a type of polyunsaturated fat) are worth mentioning, as a lot of the benefits I’ve spoken about in this post are linked to this particular type of fat. Unfortunately, it’s also the type of fat most people eat the least of. So, if you are not a fan of fish (I’m defs not) a simple way of getting all the benefits of omega 3s is to supplement with a fish oil tablet, aiming for 1-2g per day.

Whilst it’s easy to put fats into categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ for learning and remembering purposes, we need to again remember that the dose makes the poison. It’s an overconsumption that will be the problem. We especially need to be mindful of this with saturated fat, as it’s responsible for high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. But at the end of the day, life is about balance and what would a life be without the occasional blowout.

This blog now rounds out the pillars of performance nutrition for skaters. If you nail these things one at a time, it will give you far better benefit to your skate game than any hack you can find on the internet.

For those that have nailed these four pillars, the next stop is to unleash the extra 10 percent in performance nutrition. Stay tuned.