BENEFITS OF NUTRITION
About 65% of the world’s population live in countries where obesity kills more people than malnutrition. If this trend continues, the World Health Organization believes that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. 70% of your weight loss or muscle gain goals are based on consistent healthy nutrition. You have to know how many grams of carbs, protein and fats you are eating per pound of body weight, not to mention total calories you eat and how many you expend in a day. If this was easy, everyone would be a fitness model. You should always bear in mind that your body is like a well-tuned vehicle that requires good fuel. If you feed it with the right fuel in the form of good nutritious food, your body will be fully functional and bursting with energy. A healthy diet and lifestyle can not only help in treating obesity and diabetes, but also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. So, what are the advantages of good nutrition? Let’s look at the major benefits of eating right:
Nutrition guidelines are included with all services. We are not registered dietitians, but we can give healthy guidelines based on the glycemic index. If you have a metabolic issue or certain food allergies we can refer you to a registered sports dietitian.
IF YOU’RE AN ATHLETE, READ ON.
Of course, if you’re…
AVERAGE PEOPLE: FOCUS ON FOOD QUALITY & QUANTITY
FOR MORE ON THESE, CHECK OUT … HOW TO FIX A BROKEN DIET: 3 WAYS TO GET YOUR EATING ON TRACK.
Not everyone needs nutrient timing
These days, even women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan recommend exercise drinks to help with hydration and recovery. Nutrient timing, they say, is important for every exerciser.
Well, we hesitate to disagree with the eminent sports nutrition pros staffing lifestyle magazines, but most people don’t need to worry about nutrient timing. Ever.
At Precision Nutrition, we’ve worked with over 30,000 people through our coaching programs. This experience, combined with the latest scientific evidence, suggests that for most people trying to look and feel their best, nutrient timing is not a main priority.
For a review, check out … Is nutrient timing dead? And does “when” you eat really matter? Indeed, for a lot of people, stressing out about:
can be distracting, even self-sabotaging.
(For other people, nutrient timing actually gives them a framework for making good food decisions and controlling total intake. Of course, if that’s you, rock on with the nutrient timing!)
Remember, we’re not saying nutrient timing is good or bad here.
It certainly can, and often does, work.
But nutrient timing is just one tool. Like every tool, it has to be used skillfully, in the right way and in the right situation.
What’s true for the pre-diabetic office worker who’s never exercised is certainly not true for the serious endurance runner or the long-time bodybuilder. In fact, the people who stand to benefit most from specific nutritional strategies around their workouts are athletes.
So, in the end, if you’re reading this as an athlete, or a serious exerciser – or a trainer/coach who works with these populations – know that these strategies could help make a difference.
NUTRIENT TIMING ISN’T MAGIC
Nutrient timing won’t suddenly transform your physique or performance. This is especially true if you aren’t yet doing basic good habits consistently.
If you’re a recreational exerciser who just wants to look and feel better, this is the article to read.
Workout nutrition in detail
For those of you interested in learning more, let’s dig in.
First we’ll cover what’s happening during the pre-exercise, during-exercise, and post-exercise time periods.
Then we’ll share what to eat to get the most out of them.
PRE-EXERCISE NUTRITION NEEDS
What and when you eat before exercise can make a big difference to your performance and recovery.
In the three hours before your workout, you’ll want to eat something that helps you:
Here are a few ways to ensure you’re meeting your requirements.
PROTEIN BEFORE EXERCISE
Eating some protein in the few hours before exercise:
Before you rush off to mix a protein shake: While protein before a workout is a great idea, speed of digestion doesn’t seem to matter much. So any protein source, eaten within a few hours of the workout session, will do the trick.
CARBS BEFORE EXERCISE
Eating carbs before exercise:
FATS BEFORE EXERCISE
Pre-exercise nutrition in practice
With these things in mind, here are some practical recommendations for the pre-exercise period.Depending on what suits your individual needs, you can simply have normal meal in the few hours before exercise. Or you can have a smaller meal just before your exercise session. (If you’re trying to put on mass, you may even want to do both.)
OPTION 1: 2-3 HOURS BEFORE EXERCISE
This far in advance of your workout, have a mixed meal and a low-calorie beverage like water.
If you’re a man, here’s what your meal might look like:
If you’re a woman, here’s what your meal might look like.
Note: Your actual needs will vary depending on your size, goals, genetics, and the duration and intensity of your activity.
For example, an endurance athlete preparing for a 20 mile run will need more carbs than someone getting ready for a 45 minute gym session.
This article talks more about how you can individualize these meals for your own needs.
OPTION 2: 0-60 MINUTES BEFORE TRAINING
Rather than eating a larger meal 2-3 hours before exercise, some people like to eat a smaller meal closer to the session.The only issue with that: the closer you get to your workout, the less time there is to digest. That’s why we generally recommend something liquid at this time, like a shake or a smoothie.Yours might look like this:
Here’s a delicious example:
It probably goes without saying, but with pre-training nutrition, choose foods that don’t bother your stomach. Because… er… you know what happens if you don’t.
DURING-EXERCISE NUTRITION NEEDS
What you eat or drink during exercise is only important under specific circumstances. But if you are going to eat during exercise, your goals will be similar to those for pre-workout nutrition. Above all, you’ll want to maintain hydration.
Goals of nutrition during exercise:
PROTEIN DURING EXERCISE
Eating protein during exercise:
CARBS DURING EXERCISE
Eating carbs during exercise:
How many carbs should you eat?
That depends. The maximum amount of carbohydrates that can be digested/absorbed during exercise is 60-70 grams per hour.
However, if you include protein in the mix, you can achieve the same endurance benefits with only 30-45 grams of carbohydrate per hour. Note: the protein also protects against muscle breakdown so it’s typically a good idea to add some in.
FATS DURING EXERCISE
Eating a bit of fat before and after exercise can be a great idea. (And tasty, too!)
But you should try to avoid eating fats during exercise. That’s because fats can be more difficult to digest. And during training, you don’t want to give your stomach more work than it can handle.
During-exercise nutrition in practice
Do you need to eat during your workout?
That depends on how long it’s been since your last meal and the length/type of exercise you’re planning on.
EXERCISE LASTING LESS THAN TWO HOURS
For training that’s less than two hours long, the main focus should be hydration. This is especially true if you’re using good pre- and post-training nutrition. So make sure you bring plenty of water.
But what about sports drinks? They don’t offer much benefit for events less than two hours long. Especially if you ate a good pre-exercise meal.
There are some exceptions, though.
EXERCISE LASTING MORE THAN TWO HOURS
For training that is longer than two hours, sports drinks can be a huge help. Every hour you’ll want to consume:
This can come in the form of liquids, gels, or even some solid food.
Many endurance athletes prefer to drink water and eat fruit and other foods to supply their energy even on really long runs. Either approach is fine, as long as you ensure you’re getting enough protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes, especially sodium.
If you are exercising intensely for longer than two hours, especially in the heat, do not rely on water alone.
This will decrease your performance and your recovery. And it could also lead to hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium levels in your blood become too low. Hyponatremia causes your muscles and heart to contract erratically, and can even lead to death.Under these conditions, when you’re sweating a lot, go with sports drinks.
POST-EXERCISE NUTRITION NEEDS
Now let’s take a look at post-exercise nutrition.Post-workout nutrition can help you:
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