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Food and Fitness.

Physical activity and exercise can improve your health, shape and mood. It doesn’t matter what your level of fitness is or how old you are! Exercise helps with weight control, keeps your bones healthy, improves cardiovascular performance, improves your strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of certain diseases such as coronary heart diseases, obesity, diabetes and some forms of cancer. It can also help manage certain diseases and can even be preventative.

Endurance exercise activates the brain to release endorphins. This helps to soothe pain and can help prevent and reduce depression, stress and anxiety.

Fuel for Sport

Just like a car needs fuel your body does too. The right combination of food and exercise can enhance your performance at the gym, during everyday activities, at work and even at home.

Top Dietary Tips for Physical Activity

Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy for physical activity and should be integrated into your training plan. Food sources include, breads, grains, cereals, pasta, fruit, and starchy vegetables. These provide fuel for muscles and speed up the replenishment of energy after exercise. If you are not eating enough then you will tire more quickly. The amount required depends on an individuals requirements.

Drink Plenty of Fluids. During high activity fluid loss increases, the risk of cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Drink 400-600ml liquid 2 hours before a workout and 150-350ml every 15-20 minutes during exercise.

Time your meals

Before a race or an event have a high carbohydrate low fat meal about 2-3 hours beforehand. Eat foods that you are familiar with and that you digest easily.

Try carbohydrate loading before an endurance event.

This is appropriate for events that last longer than 90 minutes like half marathons and marathons, triathlons and long distance bike rides. For events that last less than 90 minutes a regular high – carbohydrate diet is sufficient. Loading involves reducing training during final week and increasing carbohydrates to 70-80% of total calories during this time

Replace carbohydrates after an event

Eat a high – GI, carbohydrate rich meal/snack within 30 minutes after exercising. Foods such as bread, baked potatoes and bananas have a high GI index.

Orange squash or sports drinks are good sources of carbohydrates immediately after exercise if you don’t have an appetite.

Replace the sodium and potassium lost during exercise with food.

Eat potassium –rich fruit and vegetables including bananas, oranges, melon and tomatoes. Lightly salt your food after exercise to replace the sodium lost during exercise.

No need for more proteins

Protein plays a huge part in helping to build and repair muscle and tissue. Training is the best way to build muscle not protein supplements. As long as a well planned and well balanced nutrition plan is followed then there is no need to add any extra protein to your diet. The daily protein recommendation for endurance athletes is 1.2 – 1.4g per kilogram of body weight, where as for resistance and strength trained athletes it can be as high as 1.6 -1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.