Maybe you are training for an event or have a specific goal for your regular exercise routine. If so, you probably have established a nutrition program or have worked with our team of fitness experts.
Or maybe you are a regular exerciser who is here for the love of the gym or the endorphin rush of knowing that you just got a BP. Either way, when, how and what you eat has a serious impact on your stamina, your ability to achieve your goals and your recovery.
Timing When You Eat
If you are exercising for less than 2 hours, there is no need to snack during your exercise. To ensure that you have the best workout possible, it is best to eat a minimum of 2 hours before you workout. The exact amounts of carbs, fat and protein you need will depend on your diet plan and whether you are an endomorph, ectomorph or mesomorph body type – what is true for everyone is that you will need a meal that is a mix of all three going in. After your workout, you’re going to want to top up your protein for muscle repair, your slow release carbs for energy release and look at your hydration. By hydration, we don’t just mean water only – you’ll need to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat.
What You Eat
It’s common to focus on macros when we think about nutrition for exercise but your micros – micronutrients i.e vitamins and minerals – can be the difference between an exceptional workout and recovery and an average workout with slow recovery. As mentioned replenishing your electrolytes – salt, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride – are critical for rehydration. Essential vitamins including Vitamin C and D are needed for healthy bones, Vitamin C, D, Zinc are needed for a healthy immune system which can be suppressed by long periods of exercise. Zinc and Biotin are needed for healthy cells and recovery. While B9 (Folic Acid), B12 and Iron are needed for energy and oxygen transport. Low iron can be common in active exercisers and can affect your stamina, leaving you feeling tired and unable to focus.
How You Eat
How you eat is probably the missing piece in most blogs about nutrition for regular exercise. By rushing through your meals, timing them badly or over snacking you can really undo the benefits of your carefully thought out plan. When we exercise our body temporarily goes into fight or flight mode – this helps us get our adrenal up for an awesome workout. But in fight or flight our body is not digesting food it’s focused on sending as much oxygen and energy to our muscles as possible. That’s why it’s important that before and after exercise, we chew our food thoroughly and eat in a calm environment – not on the run or in front of a screen. This allows our body to go into rest and digest mode where it can turn our food into fuel and make the most of our macro and micro nutrients.