Sports nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. If you aren’t interested in the details or the science of sports nutrition, but still want to get the most out of your diet and fitness program, the following recommendations are for you.
Eat a balanced diet every day
To exercise regularly, you need to provide a good amount of high-quality energy to your working muscles. The easiest way to do this is to eat a balanced breakfast and continue to eat a variety of high quality foods throughout the day.
Carbohydrates in the form of glycogen are the fuel that makes exercise possible, so adequate carbohydrates must be consumed each day if you are to expect to exercise regularly. Proteins and fats also have a place in your diet and should be consumed daily. In general, each meal should contain a varied combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Note that the protein and carbohydrate requirements for strength training will be different from endurance training with more carbohydrates needed for endurance and more protein for strength training.
Several hours before training
The pre-exercise meal will vary depending on your exercise style. You should plan to have your pre-exercise meal 4-6 hours before exercise. If you work out at night, breakfast should include foods that are easy to digest and high in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, fruits and vegetables. Select a small amount of lean meat like chicken or fish, or tofu, and try what works best for you.
If you exercise first thing in the morning, you’ll probably feel better if you eat a light breakfast of fruit with nut butter or toast with jam and peanut butter. Again, everyone is different, so try what works best for you. Anyhow what you choose to eat, you should drink plenty of water before and during a morning workout.
30 to 60 minutes before training
Depending on the type and length of workout you’re doing, you’ll want to eat a small snack and drink water half an hour before you start. In general, aim for 50 grams of carbohydrate with 5-10 grams of protein before you work out.
Trail mix is great for aerobic workouts longer than 60 or 90 minutes, but if you work hard for thirty minutes you probably only need half an energy bar or granola, a large banana. , some graham crackers, fig bars or pretzels. . For a shorter workout, you may not want to eat anything at all, but you can get some calories from the foods mentioned above.
You should also start drinking water 20 to 30 minutes before your workout so that you have consumed around 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water in the hour before your workout.
During your training
Proper hydration during exercise will vary depending on the intensity and duration of your exercise and even the weather. It is recommended that you drink about 1.5 to 2 cups of water every 5 to 15 minutes per hour.
If you exercise for more than 90 minutes, drink 1.5 to 2 cups of water containing 6 to 8% carbohydrate solution every 5 to 15 minutes. It should be around 60 grams per hour. In addition, the electrolytes must be replenished with 300-600 mg of sodium, potassium and magnesium.
If your workout lasts less than an hour, there’s a good chance you won’t need to consume anything more.
Hydration after your workout
The general rule after your workout is simple: Drink enough water to replace the water lost through sweating. The best way to determine this is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. For every pound of body weight lost, you will need to consume about 3 cups of fluid.
Another way to determine how much fluid to consume is to check the color of your urine. Dark, concentrated urine can indicate dehydration. Your urine should be relatively light in color. Don’t be fooled by your thirst signals, as they are less sensitive during exercise than at rest.
Eat after your workout
Your post-exercise meal should be eaten as close as possible to when you are finished exercising. Ideally, this will be within two hours of a long or intense workout in order to replenish glycogen stores. Research shows that ingesting 0.6 to 1.0 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight within 30 minutes and then again every 2 hours for 4 to 6 hours after endurance exercise maximized blood reserves. glycogen. Likewise, adding 1.2g / kg of body weight of carbohydrate every 30 minutes for 3.5 hours had a similar benefit.
Adding a combination of carbohydrate and protein may improve recovery and glycogen stores compared to carbohydrate intake alone. Studies have shown that a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4: 1 appears to be the most effective. ideal combination of nutrition. And while solid foods can work just as well as a sports drink, a drink can be easier to digest, making it easier to get the right ratio and stick to the 2-hour window.
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