Nutrition, as any athlete or recreational exerciser will tell you, plays
a part in the efficiency and productivity of a workout / training session.
The type of nutrition, and the amount needed before, during and after exercise,
is dependent on a number of interlaced factors; exercise intensity, exercise
duration, exercise type and frequency / number of workouts undertaken.
All exercise consists of a series of muscle contractions. These contractions
can be of low intensity (walking, long distance cycling etc) or relatively
high intensity (weight training, sprinting etc) but all the aforementioned
exercise types will burn muscle glycogen as a form of fuel to sustain exercise.
Muscle glycogen derives from the breakdown and redistribution of sugars
found in carbohydrate-based foods. Thus, it is important that we as the
exerciser eats enough carbohydrates within our balanced diet. Good sources
of carbohydrates are potatoes, pasta, rice, wheat, bread, fruit and cereal.
It is important that our muscles contain enough muscle glycogen for us to
complete our training session. Thus, a good rule of thumb is to eat a fairly
carbohydrate-rich meal two hours prior to training - a two hour gap will
allow the body to be able to fully digest any meal eaten and "top-up"
low muscle glycogen stores.
This should then allow us as the exerciser to maintain fairly stable blood
sugar levels, which in turn will all us to sustain a high level of exercise
intensity during a long distance or short and sharp workout.
Allow a gap of between
2-3 hours for a medium sized pre exercise meal to be fully digested
A larger meal may
take up to 4 hours to digest.
Prior to exercise - approximately 1 hour before exercising - aim to either
eat or drink a carbohydrate-based snack.
Good snacks to include are a piece of fruit, a glass of fruit juice, a couple
of slices of toast or a low-fat yogurt.
**Important** Drink a pint of water at this point. This will fend of dehydration
during exercise. Continue to drink or sip water throughout any bout of exercise.
A post exercise meal should be consumed with 90 minutes of exercise. Research
tells us that athletes show no immediate negative side effects even if a
post workout meal isn't eaten with two hours after a training session. However,
this writer believes that the sooner the body is fed with a carbohydrate
and protein rich meal (70 % CHO and 20 % protein), the sooner the body and
muscles can begin to replenish its depleted energy stores.
Consume at least
1 gram of carbohydrate per kg of body weight - if you have had a long session
(more than 90 mins) you may wish to eat between 1.5 - 2 grams of CHO per
kilo of body weight.
Eat between 0.35
and 0.7 grams of protein per kilo of body weight