SPORTS NUTRITION – HOW TO BE YOUR BEST

pilates

Nutrition is a vital but often overlooked element of a training program. Training for any event takes planning and perseverance, especially if you are pushing your physical boundaries. An increased training load not only puts your body under extra stress but also amps up your nutritional requirements.

Over the next 4 weeks, we will give you the nutritional tools you need for peak performance – Including how to:

  • Nourish and fuel your body during training
  • Choose amazing pre and post training snacks
  • Hydrate effectively
  • Plan for race day
  • Kick start your post race recovery

WHAT TO EAT

Eating a nourishing diet will help you to:

  • Meet your nutrition and energy requirements
  • Promote recovery and tissue growth and repair
  • Prime your body for optimal health on race day
  • Improve endurance performance
  • Reduce or delay fatigue during training and racing

A healthy meal should be made up of quality carbohydrate, protein and healthy fats.

CARBOHYDRATES – (primary source of energy)
LEAN PROTEIN –  (growth, repair of lean muscle, immune health)
HEALTHY FAT -   (vitamin absorbtion, immune health, fuel source)

CARBOHYRATE:
Carbs
are the preferred energy source for the body as they will satisfy energy needs and support muscle recovery afterwards. We store small amounts in our liver and muscles as glycogen, which our liver breaks down into glucose during exercise and releases into the bloodstream for energy. The muscles and brain use this glucose, as well as their own residual glycogen supplies, to fuel their work. When our glycogen stores are depleted we become fatigued, making it harder to sustain higher intensities. Blood sugar levels may drop, compounding fatigue and leaving you feeling pretty awful – anyone who has ‘hit the wall’ would agree. Adequate carbohydrate intake is very important and will determine how much glycogen is stored ready for use during training. The amount of carbohydrate you need depends on your activity level and duration of your training sessions and what is important is the quality of the carbohydrate that is eaten. Natural wholefood and unprocessed sources are best such as vegetables, fruits, oats, beans etc.

PROTEIN:
Whenever the body is growing, repairing or replacing tissue, proteins are involved. They are found in your skin, bones, muscle and all your organ tissue. The body prefers to reserve its protein stores for functional purposes rather than breaking them down to use as energy. Training for an endurance event increases your protein requirements, as your body is continually repairing and adapting in response to each session. Adequate protein intake is very important to keep up with these changes and ensure that protein synthesis is supported for quick recovery and optimal performance. Your protein requirements will depend on many factors including gender, size, muscle mass, activity level and training intensity. Check out the healthy chef protein calculator here to work out your individual daily requirement as well as the best sources of protein.

FAT:
Fat’s are essential for digestion, vitamin absorption, hormone production and immune health. Fat is the other primary fuel for working muscles during exercise. Fats are the building blocks for cell walls and hormones, transporters of vitamins A, D, E, K and essential for bone and immune health. Inadequate fat stores and intake can lead to major health complications. My favourites are the Mediterranean style mono-unsaturated (oleic) oils and omega 3 oils which are anti-inflammatory to the body and can help the fight against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, nourish the immune system and reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression.  Studies show that these healthy fats are associated with a longer healthy life. Top of my list are cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nuts, avocado, flaxseeds, walnuts and almonds.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Think of your body as a high performance sports car with a finely tuned engine; premium fuel is needed for optimal performance! During training, you want to give your body the best quality fuel possible. Include a variety of delicious wholefoods to ensure you are getting the full nutrient potential of each meal and snack.

Your diet should be jam-packed full of colourful vegetables and fruits; the more colour, the more anti-oxidants! Natural antioxidants are really important during periods of increased physical activity, as your cells are exposed to greater levels of oxidative stress. Fill up at least half your plate with colourful salads or vegetables at meal times and munch away on fresh fruit in between if you’re hungry.

Aim to have 3 regular meals and adjust snacks around your activity levels for the day. If you do a long or really intense training session one day, your energy requirements will be higher than on days with much lighter sessions. To bump up your intake on more strenuous days, keep your main meal sizes the same and add in a couple of extra nourishing snacks (including post workout). This will help you to meet your energy needs and also counteract any dramatic increases in appetite, which can lead to overeating and weight gain for some. Be mindful of your appetite and listen to your body.

RECOVERY AFTER EXERCISE
After your  training session, aim to kick-start the recovery process as soon as possible by munching down a snack that includes some fluid. There is a window of about 1-1.5 hours where the enzymes that are involved in storing glycogen and building protein are working in overdrive, so make the most of this! Ideally your post training snack/meal should include:

Carbohydrate – restores glycogen and improves protein absorption
Protein – repairs muscle and promotes training adaptations
Fluid with electrolytes – rehydrates and restores electrolyte balance

Liquid snacks e.g. protein shakes and smoothies, are a convenient way of getting protein and carbs into the bloodstream quickly after a workout, as they take less time to digest than solid food. If you are concerned about your energy intake for weight loss reasons, simply move your next meal forward and skip out the snack. This will ensure that your body still gets the nutrients needed to recover properly without the extra calories

BEST RECOVERY SNACKS

1     Recovery Smoothie
2     Energy Smoothie
3     SuperFood Muesli
4     Protein Balls
5
     Chocolate Protein Balls

 

 

Pre/post training snacks and rehydration tips are coming your way next week, so enjoy your training, listen to your body and get stuck into some healthy wholefoods :)

Stay Healthy

Teresa + Team Healthy Chef

 

 

 

 

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Comments
10 Responses to “SPORTS NUTRITION – HOW TO BE YOUR BEST”
  1. SWILL says:

    I train first thing in the morning (6am) and then eat post workout. I’m generally up and out the door in 15mins but should I be eating something before the workout? Some mornings I find I really struggle to get through a session.

    Cheers

    • Hey Selena – best bet for you is to add a serve of our WPI and superfood into a large glass of water and drink 15 minutes before your session. This way you will get a combination of hydration, protein + bioavailable nutrients to get you through your training session without fatigue. Let me know how you go: T:)

  2. Danette says:

    Hi Teresa,

    I use your Pea protein powder and I love the superfood added to coconut water usually before training. This year though the Blackmores 1/2 marathons starts at 6.15am! What would you suggest eating/drinking before that would give energy but not make me sick… especially since I don’t want to be up at 3am to eat and let it digest???

    So confused!

    Thanks

  3. Andrea Smith says:

    Hi
    I train 6 days a week and always have a post work out protein shake to help with recovery. This seems to be working for my weight training days but on the days I do HIIIT I’m am extremely fatigued (even been experiencing vertigo!).
    What would you recommend on those days to help with recovery?

    • Hi Andrea – one recovery meal is not enough for you as you need the correct balance of the right fuel to support your body after training.

      After your training session, aim to kick-start the recovery process as soon as possible by munching down a snack that includes some fluid. There is a window of about 1-1.5 hours where the enzymes that are involved in storing glycogen and building protein are working in overdrive, so make the most of this! Ideally your post training snack/meal should include:

      Carbohydrate – restores glycogen and improves protein absorption
      Protein – repairs muscle and promotes training adaptations
      Fluid with electrolytes – rehydrates and restores electrolyte balance

      Liquid snacks e.g. protein shakes and smoothies, are a convenient way of getting protein and carbs into the bloodstream quickly after a workout, as they take less time to digest than solid food. If you are concerned about your energy intake for weight loss reasons, simply move your next meal forward and skip out the snack. This will ensure that your body still gets the nutrients needed to recover properly without the extra calories

  4. Isabella says:

    Hi Teresa , I love your website !
    I have a question , I am a professional ballet dancer who usually dances 6 days a week up to 8 hours a day , your protein calculator said I should have about 76g protein a day – I recently had surgery and am recovering , I’m doing lots of other exercise a day , Pilates , gyrotonics ,swimming , gym work and starting to do ballet again , 6 months post op , but of course I’m trying to heal my insides and tissue repair and muscle memory too , what level of protein should I take ?? I am 176 cm at 53 kg ( I’m naturally thin ) and I eat very well ))

    Thanks for any advise you can give me )
    I try to have protein with every meal and I snack regularly

    Best wishes
    Izzy

    • HI Isabella – you definitely need to increase your protein intake and I would recommend you aim for 2 g/ kilo of body weight to support recovery as well as your tough training regime. The protein calculator is just a basic guide and you need to adjust based on your own individual needs. So protein intake for you should be between 110 – 120 g protein per day. T:) x

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