It is important for athletes to fuel their body for training. Not every day is the same when it comes to fueling. Nutritional needs will change depending on the intensity and duration of training. They will also differ depending on the time of year. Nutrition during the season may be slightly different than pre-season nutrition. The off-season on pre-season is the best time of year for an athlete to lose weight if needed. Other strategies may be implemented during the pre-season time such as changing carbohydrate intake to increase fat adaptation.
This picture is for athletes during their season when they need to perform at their peak. Hard training days are generally described as higher intensity training that lasts a minimum of 60 minutes, lower intensity activity that lasts a minimum of 90 minutes, or two training sessions in one day with at least one of the sessions being high intensity. For instance a high intensity interval session in the morning and a challenging strength session in the evening.
Keep in mind this plate method is useful for meals, but athletes who are training hard need to be eating more frequently than three meals per day. An example of an athlete's meal plan would include breakfast, train/exercise, eat a post exercise snack or meal, eat lunch, have a mid-afternoon snack, train/exercise, then have dinner post exercise. The plate can also be used to help athletes determine the entire days worth of fuel. I often ask athletes if they put their entire days worth of food on a giant plate, would it look something like what is pictured?