Did you know just taking 10 minutes out from any training programme to think about food can make all the difference to your performance at the end of the day? Sometimes you can even come second or just miss out in any form of athletic competition just because you had two biscuits too many a few days ago or even last night?
Modern busy people from casual exercisers to semi-serious and ultra competitive athletes, are fuelling at the wrong times. So many select the wrong balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat. They also drinking too little fluids, and fail to take in adequate levels of iron. We provide some simple yet top tips to help you understand this in simple terms so you can study your own habits and make the changes necessary for greatly improved performance!
1. Make sure you eat enough during your active day
Those athletes who come to training without enough fuel tend to miss out on nourishing meals during the day but then eat junk food by night. The truth is if you can make time to train then you can make time to eat properly. And if you’re especially conscious of your weight then you should watch what you eat very closely.
If you eat properly in day time then you’ll be a lot less hungry at night. Try and do something a little active and even getting more sleep will help your weight and your performance. The fact is just missing out on one more biscuit can save you 100 calories minimum!
2. Consume the right amount of calories
What you need to do is divide your calorie intake up evenly over the course of the day. If you can eat roughly every four hours then you have a constant refuelling source.
You might like to get the advice of a sports dietician or even your doctor. They can help you estimate what you need in terms of calories and turn this into a diet plan.
3. You must eat a required amount of fat!
This may surprise a few people but it’s absolutely true.
Eat too much fat and you displace carbohydrates vital to fuel your muscle structure and the energy will drain from your legs in that event you’ve been working toward.
Eat too little and you won’t be able to put back fat stored within the muscles supporting endurance performance. Consuming some healthful dietary fat in addition to the right level of carbs and calories produces vital fuel that gets stored within the muscles ready to improve endurance performance
4. Fuel up before the event!
Ok this may seem like common sense but it’s surprising just how many people overlook this vital fact. It’s also a fact Eating 100 to 300 calories from a pre-exercise snack even five minutes prior to the activity enhances performance.
Even if you are only exercising for less than an hour, you should still eat a pre-exercise snack and drink a little water. If you exercise in the morning, enjoy a banana before you go as this will boost your energy levels quite quickly, and then afterwards refuel with the rest of your breakfast.
The same applies for afternoon or evening sessions – have a boosting snack first and finish the rest afterwards. But take advice from a sports dietician or your doctor.