~ By Clinical dietitian Joanna El-Hayek ~
Eating and exercise go hand in hand. Whether you have casual workouts or trainings for a competition, the timing and composition of your meals can have an impact your performance.
The goal is to suppress hunger with foods that can be rapidly digested in order to avoid gastric discomfort.
You should consume a snack or meal rich in carbohydrate (rice, pasta, bread, etc…) and include small amounts of protein which help build and repair muscle tissues and may reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.
It’s important to choose meals t hat are low in fat and fiber to ensure optimal digestion and prevent discomfort during exercise.
3-4 hours before exercise: Turkey sandwich
1-2 hours before exercise: a cup of low-fat yogurt and a fruit
For prolonged exercise, it is essential to have the appropriate mix and timing of fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates to prevent fatigue, cramping and other intestinal problems.
The primary goal is to replace fluid losses. Plain water is sufficient for exercise that last less than 1 hour and is low to moderate in intensity. If the exercise is intense or lasts more than 1 hour, sports drinks with 6-8% carbohydrate concentrations and added electrolytes are necessary.
Drink shortly after the onset of activity: 100 mL every 10 minutes.
After exercise the goal is to ensure rapid recovery and replace carbohydrates, as well as fluids and minerals lost in sweat. Therefore you need to eat as soon as you can (15-60 min post workout) to replenish your body and optimize your performance for the next workout.
Provide a meal with a combination of carbohydrate and protein to aid in repair of damaged muscle tissue and to stimulate muscle growth. In addition, drink around 500mL for every 0.5kg loss of body weight during exercise.
15 min after exercise: low fat chocolate milk + a banana
40 min after exercise: Whole wheat pita bread with low fat cheese + veggies
For dieters, try not to fall into the cycle of skipping breakfast, eating a light lunch and exercising right after work with little energy on board. This might lead to overeating at night! Another trap is rewarding a good workout with high-calorie or fatty foods which cancel out your efforts at the gym.
Joanna El-Hayek- Clinical Dietitian
+961 3 499137