A quick guide to sports nutrition
To get the most out of your workout you need to address your diet, after all, no amount of exercise can counteract the negative effects of a poor diet! If you’re investing time in training then make sure you’re following these simple hacks to ensure you are doing your efforts justice.
What to eat and when
Carbohydrates shouldn’t be shunned. They're critical for performance as our body will depend on our glucose stores for energy when we're working out. If you exercise to exhaustion, you’ll be depleting your muscle and liver glycogen which needs to be replaced to prevent exhaustion and any negative impact on your performance. After you’ve finished training, you have a critical window to fully replenish your glycogen stores so aim to eat within 90 mins of ending your exercise. Great sources of complex carbs include whole grain rice, quinoa, sweet potato and oats.
Include protein foods too as these will aid glycogen replenishment. It’s a good idea to have protein at each meal, and remember: plant-based sources of protein are easier to digest! Great sources include oily fish, eggs, white meat, legumes, lentils, pulses, red meat (in moderation). Avoid having red meat, legumes, nuts and seeds within 2 - 4 hours before training as these are difficult to digest.
Often we overlook the deleterious effects of reduced body hydration on exercise performance. Dehydration results in impaired performance and negatively impacts your cardiovascular, metabolic and central nervous system function, which gets greater as dehydration worsens. Load up on water, herbal teas and watery foods such as soups to stay hydrated. Too much salt and coffee can dehydrate you so monitor consumption and increase your levels of hydration accordingly.
Beetroot juice is rich in nitrates and studies show it can even improve endurance. It gets to work within a couple of hours so you’re best having some before you train.
Antioxidants will help reduce any inflammation caused by working out. Eat the rainbow by choosing a variety of vegetables such as kale, peppers, beetroot, broccoli, and chillies to ensure you get a range of antioxidants. Turmeric also effectively reduces inflammation and improves recovery, try taking a 5g dose with fat and black pepper to enhance absorption.