Optimal Frequency = Elite Status

Dawn Weatherwax Sports Nutrition Academy



Did you know that in a six-month training period, athletes are seven times more likely to reach their performance goals if they can optimally complete over 80% of their training? However, when taken out of that range, 30% are likely to get injured and 50% will probably get sick! This article focuses on the 50%.


When someone sneezes, coughs, shouts, chants, cheers or touches something that contains a harmful virus, bacteria or other pathogen, the goal is that the body can defend against it! The target is to punch the pathogen’s lights out in the first round!

What impacts the first punch most is consuming ideal amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats to match the training load. The second punch comes from adequate amounts of micronutrients within the foods.

An athlete wants to make sure they are getting 100% RDA of all micronutrients, but the ones that have the biggest impact are magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamins C, D and E.

Lastly, the knockout punch comes from probiotics. They are live microorganisms that strengthen the gut integrity. An athlete can track all but probiotic consumption on a free logging app called Cronometer.


There are three nutrients that are highly recommended to supplement to help reduce the occurrence of sickness.

Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble antioxidant vitamin. It impacts inflammation, kills bacteria and fights infections. Guavas, kiwi, bell peppers, strawberries, oranges, papayas, broccoli, tomatoes, snow peas and kale are a few top choices. The recommended daily intake (RDI) for adults is 90 mg for males and 75 mg for females (USA). Around fall, winter and while faced with other high-risk factors, it is strongly recommend taking 0.25g-1.0g/Vit C/day (250-1,000 mg). This has shown about a 50% decrease in incidences of upper respiratory infection.

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin known to influence several aspects of immunity, including being an anti-inflammatory. Vitamin D has to come from food and sun. Depending on where you live, time and skin exposure to sunlight and personal thoughts on sunscreen make the sun factor unpredictable. RDI is 600 IU (15 mcg) vitamin D3/day. Salmon, eggs, pork chops, cremini mushrooms (exposed to ultraviolet light) and non-GMO firm tofu as well as fortified yogurt, milk, milk substitutes, orange juice and breakfast cereals are leading picks. Monitoring via blood work and adding an additional 1,000-2,000 IU/ vitamin D3 a day is recommended. Meeting vitamin D3 blood levels have shown to reduce URI incidences.

Probiotics are live microorganisms and impact the health of our gut microbome. A healthy gut impacts how well we fight illness by regulating the balance between tolerance and immunity. Currently, there are no dietary recommendations, but try to aim for one daily serving of a probiotic food. Yogurt, kefir, kimchee, slightly green bananas, plantains, sauerkraut and garlic are options. It is recommend to add a daily dose of about 10 billion live bacteria. This has shown approximately 50% decrease in URI incidence and about 2 days shortening of URI.


To achieve maximum performance potential, athletes need to stay healthy and complete over 80% of their training. How they fuel directly impacts immune health. Adding additional vitamins C and D plus probiotics through supplementation is also recommended to enhance immunity. Maximize immune health with good hygiene, balancing stress and optimal sleep…enjoy hitting your performance goals!

This article and the following sample menu are educational only and should not be used in place of medical advice.


Pre-Swim Practice (4:30-5:15 a.m.)

1-2 oz Oatmeal

2 T Chia/flax seeds

8 oz Fairlife Milk or RTD Orgain Protein Vanilla

1 Grapefruit or large orange

16 oz Water

Training (5:30-6:45 a.m.)

10-20 oz Water an hour with one NUUN tablet (optional) per 20 oz

Breakfast (6-7:30 a.m.) Must have within 30-45 minutes after training

1 whole Pita

1-2 Whole eggs, cooked with 1 cup chopped kale and tomatoes

2 oz Organic ground turkey with Italian seasonings

1-2 cups Pineapple

16-24 oz Water


Multivitamin and mineral table

Fish oil capsule (very high in EPA/DHA)

Vitamin D3

Vitamin C


Lunch (11 a.m.-12:45 p.m.)

3-6 oz Organic beef/flank

1-2 cups Green bell peppers and onions

1 whole Avocado

1-2 large Tortillas (flour/corn)

1-3 cups Papaya/guava

16 oz Water with lemon or lime

Afternoon Snack (2-3:30 p.m.)

3-5 oz Organic jerky


1/8 cup Raw almonds

1/8 cup Pistachios

1/8 cup Golden raisins

1/8 cup Dried cranberries

16 oz Water

Training (3:30-5:30 p.m.)

10-20 oz Water an hour with one NUUN tablet (optional) per 20 oz

Post recovery within 30-45 min: 10-20 oz Keifer or Kite Hill High Vegan Protein Yogurt. (If you can have dinner within that time, then no need for this snack)

Evening Meal (6-7 p.m.)

3-6 oz Organic chicken with seasonings

1-2 cups Mixed greens and pickled beets

1 T Seeds

1 T Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

1 cup Rice with coriander

16 oz Water

Evening Snack (8-10 p.m.)

Yogurt bark with seeds and strawberries

1 cup Plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup Seeds

2 cups Strawberries

2 tsp Honey (more if desired)

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