One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is;
“what should I be eating to fuel my workouts?”
Well unfortunately with nutrition there isn’t one right answer; everybody is unique, every workout has different requirements and no one's energy output is the same.
However below are some general guidelines to follow to help give you a better idea of how to maximise your exercise gains.
Dependent on the time of day you work out, your body will have different requirements. If you are working out first thing in the morning and you feel fine, your stomach isn’t growling and you are ready to go - then great and just go for it!
However, if you feel you need a little bit of fuel then a piece of fruit, a couple spoonfuls of yogurt or a spoon of nut butter are great choices to have. These are all easy to digest and are absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream to give you that bit of needed fuel.
When training later in the day it’s a good idea to have a meal containing slow release carbs 2-3 hours prior. This can be whole grains, quinoa or sweet potato for example, all of which release energy more slowly.
After training you need to ensure that your meal is a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Make sure you are fuelling yourself properly after exercise to help with recovery.
It is important that you are having a good portion of protein at every meal, irrelevant of when you are working out. Most people seem to lack the bodies required protein intake, especially at breakfast. Try including eggs or yogurt into your breakfasts to help increase your intake. Research has also shown that combining carbohydrate with protein in meals is more effective in promoting muscle glycogen recovery and muscle tissue growth, compared to eating just carbohydrate alone.
Do not be scared of Carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are needed to fuel almost every type of activity, as the glucose derived from them is your bodies preferred source of energy. Ensure that your main source of carbohydrates are consumed post workout to replenish your energy stores.
Post workout is when it can be beneficial to have refined carbs, white bread, pasta etc. which all release energy very quickly into your bloodstream. Rest days and lighter sessions do not require the same carbohydrate intake so this is when you can reduce the consumption of this food group accordingly.
You also need to ensure that your digestion is on top form. You could have the best pre and post workout meals in the world, but if your digestion is lazy then your body will not be processing those foods efficiently, not gaining the benefits of them and therefore putting all your hard work to waste.
Hydration is also extremely important. For big training sessions or events / matches, you want to check that your urine is clear, 3 hours prior, to ensure you will be fully hydrated for the duration.
Everybody is unique and a one guide fits all does not work, therefore please get in touch to see how I can help you reach your goals through personalised nutrition coaching.