Having a generally healthy diet can serve you well up to a certain level of training. However, if you have particular fitness or sporting goals such as changing body composition, increased performance and regularity at the gym or taking part in an event such as long distance run or cycle then as you up your activity you need to up your nutrition game. There are three main areas you will need to understand and focus on;
1. Energy levels, on and off the field
2. Promoting muscle repair and recovery times
3. Protecting your joints
Energy is what powers you through your workouts and it is provided by a combination of the macro nutrients, carbohydrates, fats and proteins you consume and the oxygen you breathe. However before your body can use these macros nutrients and oxygen as energy it needs a number of micro nutrients to either transport or work as cofactors in the energy conversion system. B vitamins complex and CoQ10 are particularly important in the energy production process, so a deficiency may impair both aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance. Daily supplementation can help guard against deficiency.
Promoting muscle repair and recovery
Oxidative stress is the silent negative side effect of training that if not managed via nutrition can be very damaging in terms of short and long term health. This 'stress' is one of the reasons why working out is good for us, it shifts the body into repairing mood as well as working more efficiently or being 'fit'. As we create more energy to exercise we produce 'free radicals', these are very reactive and in too high numbers cause damage to cells. They need to neutralised by antioxidants that we eat and create internally from nutritional building blocks. Glutathione is the 'mother of all antioxidants' and is produced by the liver. You can improve your production of glutathione via a supplement of green tea and turmeric that supports the liver function. CoQ10, berries and supergreens also in themselves contain anti-oxidants thus reducing the risk of damage from oxidative stress and potentially reducing muscle recovery time.
Protecting your joints
Most exercise puts some pressure on our joints, it is well known that high impact sports including running can cause joint problems later in life. Omega 3s and turmeric and ginger all are potent anti-inflammatories and have been shown in studies to have a positive effect on joint health.