Learn how you can boost your performance, both in your race training and on race day, with these nutrition tips.
To make sure that everyone is making the most of their training routine, Megan Lee, a nutritionist at Futurelife presents easy to follow tips on race training nutrition.
1.Balance your energy
Achieving an energy balance requires energy taken in through food and drinks to match energy expended through daily metabolic functions and activity. Sufficient daily energy intake is essential for ensuring that the body is able to perform all necessary functions, while still having enough energy to fuel your training but excess energy intake may lead to unwanted weight gain. Thanks to technology, there are great apps and devices available to help you understand your energy requirements as well as intake and expenditure better.
2. Consume high-quality carbohydrates to fuel your training
Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for both your muscles and your brain, making them an essential part of any diet, but particularly a training diet. You should pay special attention to the quality of carbohydrates consumed and largely choose wholegrain, high-fibre options with a low glycaemic index (GI) such as cooled sweet potato, starchy vegetables, brown rice, low GI bread and whole-wheat pasta.
3. Prioritise protein
Protein is essential for many functions within the body, including muscle protein synthesis. Requirements can usually be met with a well-planned diet, making supplements unnecessary. To optimise muscle growth and repair and make sure that you are getting enough protein, spread your intake throughout the day’s meals, rather than trying to get large amounts at one or two meals. Protein can be obtained from both plant and animal sources, but it is important to be aware that animal proteins, while high quality are often high fat and that lower fat options should be prioritised.
4. Micronutrients have a macro effect
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that our bodies require in small amounts daily in order to perform many necessary functions. Active people may have a slightly higher requirement for some vitamins and minerals, but these can usually be met through increased energy intake and a healthy, balanced diet, without any food group exclusions. Pay special attention to fruit and vegetable intake. Half of your plate should be fresh vegetables, as they packed with vitamins and minerals as well as fibre. It’s also important to vary the colours of fruit and vegetables you eat, as they are rich sources of phytonutrients. Aim for at least five servings of fruit and vegetables (one to two of each colour) per day.
Tip: If you feel you may not be getting sufficient micronutrients, take a multivitamin at 100-150% of the NRV (Nutrient Reference Value – as indicated on food labels) for each nutrient. Individual micronutrients should not be supplemented without a diagnosed deficiency.
5. Stay hydrated
Around 60 per cent of your body is made up of the water necessary for many functions in the body. If your hydration levels are not what they should be, you will soon see it in your training as you will experience diminished stamina, speed, energy and muscle strength. It recommended that we drink six to eight glasses or 1.5 to two litres of water per day; this amount will increase with training. Although water should be your primary source of fluid, you can also fulfill some of your requirements with other drinks and foods such as dairy products, fruit and vegetable juices and soups.
6. Eat breakfast
Make sure it’s low GI and contains protein to provide you with the energy and vitality that you need to do your day. Not only do studies say that it will help speed up your metabolism, prevent you from overeating throughout the day and manage your weight; it will also help you live longer, feel better and ultimately help reduce and/or manage your risk for lifestyle diseases.
7. Look for a sports nutrition strategy
Do your homework and start learning what foods you tolerate best before exercise. While there are guidelines around the types of foods to choose, each person is different and a new strategy should never be trialed on race day. Learn what works for you.
The SPAR Women’s Challenge Pretoria will take place on 5 August 2017.
Source: Futurelife. Image: Pixabay