Top tips for boosting your exercise with nutrition
We often hear about exercise being good for our bodies, but it’s also great for our brains. Creating a regular exercise routine can often be challenging – many people begin enthusiastically but over time may find their participation is less consistent (especially during the colder winter months). If you find your motivation to exercise is lacking, turn to nutrition – feeling good before, during and after you exercise makes you want to go back, and nutrition can help!
The food you eat in the hours before exercise can help to boost energy levels to train. Nutrition also helps your body recover and get the most out of your training, whether it be for personal or fitness goals. The food and fluids you consume after exercise play a significant role in helping your muscles to adapt and repair, to be fresh and ready to go for the next session.
Research indicates that eating some protein in the hours post-exercise will support repair and recovery– important for at least 12 hours or more post exercise, not JUST in the immediate post-training period.
Including some carbohydrate as well will replace energy stores, particularly important if you are training again the next day.
Adding in some foods rich in vitamins, mineral and antioxidants will also help, along with some healthy fats.
There are plenty of food options that make the perfect recovery food, and of course taste is important to ensure our post-exercise meal or snack keeps our body, stomach and brain happy!
Below are some snack and meal options that contain at least ~ 20g protein, the amount found to help support muscle recovery and repair within the first hour or so after training (and every 3-4 hours thereafter). These snacks also contain some carbohydrate to assist with recovery needs. You may need a little more or less protein/carbohydrate depending on your individual needs.
– 200g high-protein Greek yoghurt with berries
– 1 small tin of tuna on rye toast or rice crackers
– Banana and berry smoothie (made with milk and Greek yoghurt)
– 1 chicken and avocado wrap
– 150g high-protein yoghurt with handful of almonds or cashew nuts
– 1 cup quinoa/vegetable salad with 100g grilled chicken
– 1 cup wholegrain cereal with milk and a few tablespoons of yoghurt
– 2 eggs on 2 slices multi-grain toast
By including specific foods before and after exercise, you’ll be taking steps to get the most out of your exercise and help to keep you active into the future.
This information is from my book Super Food for Performance in Work, Sport and Life
Lisa Middleton – Advanced Sports Dietitian