Winter is upon us and finding motivation to exercise seems to get that little bit more difficult. Focusing on nutrition based around your exercise routine can help boost your energy levels and improve muscle gains. As a nutrition student who enjoys both weight and cardio training I often get asked what are the best foods to eat around exercise and should the kind of food you eat change depending on your type of training? This post is going to focus on some handy nutrition tips for weights training, to ensure you’re getting adequate nutrients for optimal benefits.
Before Your Workout
Pre-exercise meals vary depending on what type of exercise you’re doing and how long you’ll be on the move for. A good general tip is to make sure you include carbohydrate in your main meal 3-4 hours before your workout. For example, a breakfast of oats topped with sliced banana and a teaspoon of honey, or a whole-meal salad sandwich for lunch. Follow this with a light snack such as a piece of fruit and some raw nuts about one hour before you exercise. These steps ensure you have adequate energy to use while exercising and help delay the onset of fatigue.
Side note: Currently there’s no strong research to suggest that consuming protein before a resistance training session will aid improvement of muscle growth.
During Your Workout
Generally, if your weights session lasts under one hour there’s no need to refuel during training, but it is important to keep your water intake to avoid dehydration. For endurance events, (1-3hours) 30-60g of carbohydrate should be consumed for each hour of exercise, this can be consumed in the form of a 500-600mL standard sports drink such as Gatorade or 11/2 – 2 sports gels (60-70% Carbohydrate) or even 50g of jelly beans.
After Your Workout
Following a weights session consumption of protein containing amino acids stimulates muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and reduces muscle protein breakdown, assisting with muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth). While protein intake is vital to muscle growth there are a few factors to consider when selecting your timing, type and amount of post workout protein.
Where can I find more detailed quality information?
There’s a fantastic textbook called ‘Clinical Sports Nutrition’ by Louise Burke and Vicki Deakin, which I would highly recommend if you’d like to learn more about this topic in great detail. There are also reliable websites such as:
Sports Dieticians Australia: https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/
Nutrition Australia: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resources/sports-nutrition
And Australian Institute of Sport: https://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition
If you would like to get some general healthy recipes + tips for nutritious cafes and restaurants around Melbourne follow me on Instagram @nutritious_delicious_melb.