Getting workout ready

So the big question is what to eat and when for your workouts. You may enjoy doing a variety of exercises or sports during the upcoming weeks so here are some tips of what to eat and when for different intensities and types of exercises. 

The most important aspect to always remember is hydration. Drinking enough water pre and post exercise enables a good workout and keeps you physically and mentally focused for the rest of the day. Vice Versa, drinking enough water throughout the day, means you are more likely to have the energy to train at night. Many people think it’s always food that gives up energy but by simply adding an extra 2-3 glasses of water to your daily intake can make all the difference. A good way to keep yourself on track is to check the colour of your urine, the more transparent or paler the colour the better. Dark urine means dehydration.

If you are an early riser and like to do exercise in the morning then make sure you drink 2 glasses of water before you get started. You will be dehydrated from 7-8 hours of no fluid while you sleep so the best way to boost enthusiasm when that alarm clock goes off is to have a glass of water right by your bed. Guarantee you that once you finish the glass, you won’t need to drag yourself out.

Individual preferences are a factor with whether you eat something or not prior to exercise in the morning. Some people like to while others prefer training without food. If you have dinner quite early and have more than a 12 hour gap between last meal and exercise I can recommend to have a small something like half a banana or a few dates to fuel the blood and muscle cells so you don’t feel light headed. Particularly important for early morning high intensity sessions such as boot-camp or spin classes. Carbohydrates will be the best option compared to a protein powder as they are broken down into simple sugars in the body (glucose) and provide energy to the cells fast. If you are just doing a low intensity session like a walk or yoga, you may not feel the need to eat anything.

Post exercise is very important. Again hydration is key if you have been sweating. A good way to check how much water you may lose in a typical session is to weigh yourself prior to session and after. The difference in weight (grams) will equate to water lost (millilitres). Example: 400g lost = 400mls to drink.
After a weight session at the gym, a protein source within 45mins of finishing is beneficial to help repair and build new muscle fibres (yes muscle tone!). These could include:
-an omelette for breakfast,
-protein powder or yoghurt berry smoothie
-or if close to dinner time then have grilled chicken, fish, lean red meat, lamb or lentils/egg  frittata for a vegetarian option. A general guideline for portion size is generally the palm of your hand. Aiming for vegetables with most meals is an excellent way to boost your antioxidant and vitamin and mineral intake.

If you are doing high intensity exercise in the evening then a decent afternoon snack would be important such as handful of nuts and piece of fruit or wholegrain cracker with hummus and sliced tomato or tuna. With yoga or Pilates you may only need a piece of fruit to fill the gap or a small yoghurt.

Eating regular healthy meals and snacks throughout the day will enable your body to function properly, meet your nutrient requirements and thus have the energy and recovery systems in place to WANT to exercise and develop the body you desire.

Exercise nutrition checklist:

ü  Decide when is the best time of day to exercise for you

ü  Build a nutrition plan around that including pre and post workout snacks and meals

ü  Aim to eat regularly throughout the day

ü  Keep hydration levels up

ü  2-3 palm of hand sized portions of protein throughout the day and particularly after a weight or resistance training programme e.g. Pilates or Pump class

ü  4 cups of low starchy vegetables per day e.g. spinach, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumber, cabbage etc.

ü  2 serves of carbohydrates per day (palm of hand portion size) e.g. brown rice, quinoa, kumara, pumpkin, oats

Mini diet plan

Pre workout: 400mls water
45mins run
Post workout 500mls water

Berry smoothie with yoghurt, berries, banana, mixed seeds and spinach
Soaked Bircher muesli with oats, cinnamon, grated apple, sunflower seeds, trim milk or milk substitute and sliced almonds

Chicken and mixed green salad
Brown rice and tuna vegetable Salad

Afternoon snack
Plain yoghurt with frozen blueberries and sliced almonds
Corn thins with hummus and tomato
Sliced carrots and hummus

Roast kumara with grilled lamb steak and large salad
Beef stir-fry with mixed vegetables

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