Sport and exercise nutrition is all about fueling your body, recovering from stress, building skills and maintaining your ideal body composition. Many people think that losing weight means cutting down big time on food……WRONG! If you are trying to lose weight try exercising frequently and eating adequate amounts of the right food at the right time.
Ideally, try to eat a small meal two to four hours before exercising; this will help to increase your liver and muscle glycogen levels. Glycogen is the fuel that provides energy, allowing you to train at your best and keep going for longer. However, if you feel you need something to energize you less than two hours before you exercise then try something small such as a small banana or 2 oatcakes around 30 minutes before. Make sure that whatever you eat before exercising contains a high amount of carbohydrates since this is the main fuel source and a moderate amount of protein to help with recovery after exercise.
Pre-Exercise Meal/Snack Ideas:
Chicken and lettuce sandwich
Eggs on toast
Prawn pasta with tomato sauce and roasted vegetables
Nut butter on rye bread
If exercising for longer than 30 minutes, sip your water throughout your workout.
Aim to drink 1.5-2 litres water a day (sip sip sip throughout the day).
Eating during exercise helps to provide carbohydrate to your working muscles and meet daily energy and nutrient requirements. This is especially important when you’re exercising continuously for longer than an hour. If you’re exercising for more than one hour (perhaps a marathon), try to eat a good carbohydrate source every hour. You can either get this from a sports drink or a more solid snack. For example; 1-2 medium bananas or 500ml isotonic sports drink or a large handful of raisins. Sports gels are convenient but don’t provide fluid so you also need to drink water to prevent dehydration.
It is important that you eat something soon after exercise to replenish your stores of glycogen. How much and when you eat will depend on the length and intensity of your workout and when you plan to exercise next. Try to eat within the first 30-60 minutes after exercising to promote recovery. If you have just run a marathon, aim to eat 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight every two hours for up to six hours afterwards to replenish all your stores. If you don’t plan on doing your next workout for a day or two, then eating a meal containing plenty of carbohydrate should be enough to top up your glycogen stores. Including protein in whatever you eat after exercising could be beneficial by helping to build and repair muscle tissue. It is also very important to replenish water and electrolytes to help increase muscle size, quality and repair any damage caused by the workout. Electrolytes are minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and chloride that help maintain proper fluid levels in the body and regulate muscle function. They are lost in sweat so try some refreshing and hydrating coconut water, which is packed with electrolytes.
2 small tubs of natural yoghurt – add fresh fruit to sweeten
1 sports bar (containing carbohydrate and protein)
Handful of dried fruit and nuts
Pre And Post Exercise Recipes
1/2 Ripe Mango (cubed)
4 tbsp Natural Yoghurt /Coconut Yoghurt
1 scoop Whey Protein Powder (or an alternative protein powder or just add 1 tbsp unsalted, unroasted cashew nuts)
1 tbsp Ground Flaxseeds
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 handful Spinach
200 ml (1 cup) Water/Coconut Water
1. Blend all ingredients up in a blender and enjoy!
* WHEYhey!! Whey is a natural protein found in milk, it contains very little fat, carbohydrate or lactose. Known as a complete protein, it is said to help repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue, great after a workout! However, if you are dairy intolerant; try a pea, hemp or rice protein powder instead.
Bircher Muesli (Make The Night Before)
1/3 cup Jumbo Oats
3/4 cup Milk or Almond Milk
1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
1 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
1 tbsp Ground Flaxseeds
1 tbsp Flaked Almonds
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Fresh Blueberries (or 1 banana) (1/4 mashed, 1/4 whole)
1 tsp Almond Butter (optional)
1. The night before, mix the oats, flaxseeds, cinnamon and milk until well combined.
2. Mash 1/4 cup of blueberries/banana with a fork or blend quickly in a food processor, then add to the oat mixture.
3. Add the seeds and almonds.
4. Place in a sealed or covered container overnight in the fridge.
5. In the morning, stir in the almond butter and top with the remaining whole blueberries or sliced banana.
6. Serve cold.