If you’re looking to help improve your nutrition around sport, here is our top three things that our nutritionist Jane would recommend.
Top Tip 1:
The first tip is make sure you fuel for the work that’s required.
Whether you’re doing endurance sport or strength, you want to build muscle, so you need to make sure that you have the right fuel for the body. The most easily accessed is carbohydrates. A lot of people tend to steer towards protein to fuel, but that is only to build and repair muscles rather than fuel them. So make sure you have your protein and your carbohydrates. Of course, your healthy fats are essential as well, which can also help with recovery.
Top Tip 2:
The second tip is make sure that your post exercise nutrition is optimal to make sure that you recover well.
Often you can’t train as hard during your next session and that is because you haven’t recovered properly. So making sure you have the correct food post exercise is key. If you don’t do this a deficit can happen, where you continue to work without recovering properly.
Some signs that you are in nutritional deficit are; fatigue, problems with cognitive function and not be able to perform this properly, this can be quite dangerous, particularly if it’s a high impact sport or something that you really need to concentrate on.
Having the right amount of fuel is so important, not just to power the body, but fuel the brain and making sure that you can concentrate and really focus during that exercise. You don’t want to be making mistakes!
What can I do to stop a nutritional deficit?
Plan and prepare. Know when you’re training, know your timing, and know when you’re going to be eating beforehand. You do need to leave a certain gap between eating and training, because you will have indigestion, and it will be uncomfortable. You need to make sure you’ve got a good source of carbohydrate, protein and essential fatty acids as well. If you’re finding the gap is too long, that can cause problems, so try a snack, maybe 30 minutes to 2 hours beforehand, and then gradually take sips of a sports drink (Lucozade) during performance.
Sleep is also hugely important for recovery. Your muscles need time to regenerate and look after themselves and to make sure that your inflammatory responses are working really well.
Top Tip 3:
The big third tip is look after yourself.
The recovery mentioned previously in terms of nutrition is very important, but also is taking time to rest. If you are wanting to perform well in sport, your nutrition needs to be optimal, 80 to 90% of the time. Just thinking about the fuel and how you’re going to perform the exercise is one thing, but you need to be leading a fairly healthy, balanced, nutritional lifestyle in general in order to perform at your best.
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