YOUR WORKOUT IS HUNGRY
‘You are what you eat’, you’ve probably heard it before. Nutrition Expert and Health Coach Stefanie Klaver shares her monthly advice on how nutrition affects your body, workout goals, and well-being. This month she explains the impact of nutrition on your workouts.
Healthy basic nutrition provides you with all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally. But, as someone who works out regularly, you have slightly different needs than someone who doesn’t do sports. You require more from your body! To improve your results and recovery it’s important to nourish your body the right way. “But how?!”, you may wonder.
There is quite a difference depending on whether you do strength or cardio training. So to make things easy we’ll focus on each one separately.
Before your workout
Make sure you eat your last big meal two hours before your workout. You can choose to eat some carbs 30 minutes before your workout to fill up your engine. For instance:
- A ripe banana
- Some Medjool dates
- A slice of banana bread
- 2 rice crackers or a slice of bread with some jam, apple syrup, or honey.
TIP: When you train in the evening you could choose to eat a small part of your dinner and keep the rest until after your training.
During your workout
Clearly, it is important to drink sufficiently during your training. If you notice that you’re losing lots of fluid, add a pinch of (sea) salt to your water. This will help your body hold the liquid better. In general, you shouldn’t need any extra nutrition when you’ve got your basic nutrition sorted and you’ve had a small bite to eat before your training.
After your workout
To optimize your recovery it’s important that you consume 15-20 grams of protein within 30 minutes after your training. These proteins can come from animal sources (quark, meat, fish, poultry, eggs) or can be plant-based (legumes, soy, sprouts, quinoa). Both are suitable. It’s also recommended to combine these with about 30 grams of carbohydrates, to refill your glycogen supplies. Some post-workout options are:
- 200 grams of lean quark with a piece of fruit
- 2 slices of bread with 2 boiled eggs
- 1 FITSHE After Workout Shake
Protein shakes can be very useful to take after your workout. These contain the complete spectrum of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that allow your body to recover optimally. A shake is also a very convenient way to get your fill of protein, ideal for women with an active lifestyle.
Before your workout
For cardio training, it is also important to have eaten your last meal two hours before starting your workout. Make sure this meal contains sufficient carbohydrates. When you feel you need something more to eat, choose a carbohydrate-rich snack. Drink 1 liter of liquid in advance (250ml per 15 minutes).
During your workout:
When your training takes longer than an hour, fill up your energy supply (glycogen) after an hour to avoid total exhaustion. You can do this by eating something high in carbs, like a piece of fruit. You can also opt for a sports drink – preferably an isotone sports drink, as this will be absorbed by the body quickly and usually without stomach problems.
Did you know you can easily make your own sports drink? Mix 250 ml of fresh orange or apple juice, 250 ml of water, a pinch of sea salt and you’re ready to go!
After cardio training
Especially during the first two hours after exercise, your muscles are capable of refilling the glycogen supplies quickly. Therefore, it is recommended to eat 1.5 to 2 grams of carbohydrates per kg of body weight in the first 2-4 hours after exercise. Because your appetite won’t be huge directly after your training, try a liquid or a product that is easily digestible and high in carbs. For instance:
- fruit juice
- a home made sports drink
- a banana
Eat a carb-rich meal two hours after your training. Adding an easily digestible source of protein will support the intake and ensure the optimal recovery of your muscles.
This advice is only a general guideline. What, how much, and when you should eat around your workout always depends on your personal circumstances. Besides, a basic and complete nutritional plan is essential for achieving optimal results.