The stair climbing challenge is just around the corner – so what better time to start looking at how to fuel your exercise — without overdoing it on the calories?
Optimal nutrient intake prior to and after exercise will not only help you maximise your performance but also minimise muscle fatigue and damage.
First, let’s look at what certain nutrients do for us when it comes to exercise:
● Protein helps improve muscle protein synthesis, prevent muscle damage, and promote recovery.
● Carbohydrates help maximise your body’s ability to use glycogen to fuel short and high-intensity exercises
● Fat helps fuel your body for longer exercise sessions
● Water is important for good hydration and has been shown to sustain and even enhance performance.
While there is no need to follow a rigid eating schedule around your exercise, there are some things you can do before, during, and after you work out for better outcomes.
Before: Fuel Up!
Not fueling up before you work out is like driving a car on empty. Ideally, fuel up 1 to 2 hours prior to exercise by:
● Hydrating with water.
● Eating a combination of protein and healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereals with skim milk, Greek yogurt with berries, and protein smoothie (made up of skim milk, berries, or banana and unflavoured protein powder)
During: Make a Pit Stop.
It’s important to keep your body hydrated with small, frequent sips of water.
After: Refuel Your Tank.
● Fluids. Continue taking sips of your water to keep hydrated. Depending on a number of factors (temperature, intensity, and duration of exercise) it might be necessary to add electrolytes to your water to help replace essential minerals lost through sweating
● A combination of carbohydrates and protein. After your workout, your muscles can store carbohydrates and protein as energy and help in recovery. Try grainy crackers and cheese with fruit or oats with natural yogurt and berries
So make sure you fuel up, keep hydrated and refuel your tank for the stair climbing challenge but most of all bring your A-game and HAVE FUN! See you there!
Your WLSA Dietitian,