Perfect nutrition before, during and after training
You will never be able to get the best out of yourself and achieve the sporting success you want if you eat incorrectly. We’ll explain what type of food you should eat before, during, or after training. Because depending on the type of sport, you will need different nutrients that can influence your metabolism and make you more efficient. In other words: when athletes follow simple dietary rules, they can increase their success.
Benefits Of The Sports Diet
The benefits of the sports regime are multiple, it allows you to:
- Have enough energy
- Cover energy needs to be based on expenses
- Increase performance and endurance
- Reduce recovery time
- Avoid dizziness and hypoglycemia
- Reduce the risk of injury
- Increase coordination
- Avoid muscle wasting and anemia
- Prevent premature aging due to oxidative stress
Sports nutrition is aimed at athletes practicing sports sessions of more than 1 hour, at high intensity, and more than 4 times a week. For people who have moderate physical activity (sessions of less than an hour and less than 4 times a week), a balanced diet and good hydration are sufficient.
In addition, the exact amounts of water, carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids depend on the type of activity and many other factors (gender, age, weight, height, etc.). It is, therefore, preferable to call on a qualified dietitian for personalized recommendations.
The Best Diets For Athletes
But what nutrients does our body need when we exercise? In general, caloric intake during exercise admits the following values: you must cover approximately 50% of your energy needs in carbohydrates, 20% are reserved for lipids, and 15% for proteins. It is a question of paying particular attention to the quality of the nutrients because the carbohydrates do not stay long the same carbohydrates as we believe.
In sports nutrition, carbohydrates are the basis of the diet. You have to consume a lot because their storage is limited. They prevent hypoglycemia and provide energy to the body throughout the workout. After ingestion, they are stored in the liver and in the muscles in the form of glycogen. If these hepatic and muscular reserves are full, we then observe better sports performance because glycogen is the most rapidly available source of energy during exercise. Carbohydrates are an integral part of sports nutrition before, during, and after exercise. They must represent 55 to 60% of the total calories ingested.
Care should be taken to promote complex carbohydrates that provide energy to the body over the long term. They also cause blood sugar levels to varying much less. Fast carbohydrates (white sugar, chocolate, honey, treats, etc.), on the contrary, provide energy for a very short time and cause blood sugar spikes. In some cases, they can be consumed during exercise or during recovery.
The complex carbohydrates to favor in the sports diet are the following:
- Wholegrain pasta, brown rice, bulgur, whole couscous
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole grains
To get 15g of carbohydrates, you will need to consume:
- 1 slice of bread
- 1/2 bagel
- 1/3 cup cooked pasta or rice
- 1/2 cup cooked legumes
- 1 fresh fruit
- 1/2 cereal bar
- 125ml fruit juice
Lipids, like carbohydrates, serve as an energy supplier. Since fat causes the slower digestion compared to the other two nutrients, you should generally avoid fatty meals before training. If your body is busy digesting on the football field, performance will decrease automatically.
It is especially polyunsaturated fats such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which occupy a special place in sports nutrition because they strengthen the heart and circulation. You will find them mainly in cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as in vegetable oil.
Proteins must also be part of the athlete’s meals. They promote energy stability. They also contribute to the maintenance of muscle tissue and fibers. Many protein foods, however, contain fats that we want to avoid. It is, therefore, necessary to favor proteins low in fat in the sporting regime.
Here are some examples :
- Skinless poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Lean meats
- Low-fat cheeses and dairy products
- Soy milk
8g of protein is contained, on average, in:
- 250 ml of milk
- 1 yogurt
- 30g cheese
- 30g of meat, poultry, fish or seafood
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup legumes
High-intensity sport increases oxidative stress and premature aging of the body, in the long term. Also, as part of sports nutrition, it is recommended to consume enough antioxidants. They are contained in the following foods:
- Red fruits
- Goji berries and wild berries
- Kiwi, grape, fig
- Colorful vegetables: peppers, spinach, eggplant, celery, broccoli
- Garlic, onion
Don’t Forget To Drink During Training
But even during training, you need to ensure a good supply of nutrients, because, during sports, your body’s fluid needs increase.
The problem is, if you have already lost one percent of your body weight in water, your performance will decrease measurably. Therefore, it is imperative that you think about drinking before you even feel thirsty. Because it turns out that your body only absorbs water in a delayed manner.
It is best to drink regularly and in a well-distributed manner throughout the day to permanently maintain the balance of your fluids. Here is another reason to hydrate regularly: it is only when the balance of fluids is good that nutrients will manage to reach the region where they must go in the body during exercise!
For athletes, we recommend in particular water rich in sodium. During exercise, you can easily consume isotonic drinks which also provide carbohydrates. This delays exhaustion. After exercise, a fruit juice diluted with sparkling water offers an appropriate mixing ratio on a one-to-one basis.
Important Tips You Should Know
- Do not wait until you feel hungry or thirsty before drinking or eating during exercise
- Plan food and hydration in advance, during and around training
- Get help from a registered dietitian to build an adapted and personalized eating plan
- As a snack, think about oilseeds to fill up on good fats (nuts, seeds, oilseed butter, soy products, etc.)