Fuelling the body for exercise
I have had a lot of questions from readers & clients this week about how to fuel your body for exercise as lots of you are really getting into your training and exercise this Summer.
One topic that keeps coming up is training and sugar.
I have been encouraging people to cut down or cut out sugar as it spikes blood sugars, is addictive, and it leads to fat storage particularly around the mid section.
Now if you are exercising DAILY and are TRAINING to improve your fitness levels rather than just exercising for fat loss then it is vital that you fuel your body correctly.
You need to have enough energy and endurance to enable you to work hard and get through the workout.
You also need the right nutrition to maximize muscle growth, aid recovery and replenish the energy stores in the muscles (glycogen).
For those training regularly (4-7 days exercising for more than 45 minutes at a high intensity) carbohydrates are an important nutrient as muscle glycogen is the main fuel used during prolonged exercise.
Carbohydrates still need to come from healthy sources rather than refined and processed.
Yes sugar and simple carbs will give your energy levels a quick boost when your blood sugars are low but it is far better for your health to fuel your muscles with complex starchy carbs.
So on training days add some starchy carbs to your protein & veg meals. Sweet potatoes, root veg, low sugar fruit, oats, brown rice rather than reaching for a chocolate bar.
Then eat a carbohydrate & protein snack 30 mins before any long training session.
Small handful of nuts with some dried fruit
Full fat natural yoghurt & blueberries
An apple with a teaspoon of peanut or nut butter
A low sugar cereal bar.
Keep well hydrated throughout the workout and roughly replace 1 litre of fluid per hour of exercise.
If the run / cycle, training is longer than 90 mins or in extreme environments, heat, cold, altitude then you will need to take onboard some additional carbohydtrates & also replace your electrolytes (salts).
This can be done with an electrolyte drink that suits your digestion, eating gels, fruit, energy bars or by making your own unprocessed sports drink.
(Juice of 2 oranges, 1 litre of bottled water & 1/2 teaspoon of salt. see link below for more recipes)
Post training it is vital that you refuel immediately as your muscles will take in and replensish more of the glycogen from your carbohydrates when you eat within 30 minutes.
So eat a carbohydrate & protein snack straight away.
Recovery drinks (not regular sports drink)
Chocolate milk shake (use almond milk if you don’t tolerate dairy)
Smoothie made with fruit & yoghurt or protein powder.
Then eat a full meal with carbs & protein 45 – 60 mins after exercsie.
On non-training days or for short duration training cut out the starchy carbs. That way you will stay lean.