Written by: Ms. Sandhya Nair, Accredited Nutritionist

Did you know that workout nutrition in terms of what you consume is as important as the actual workout session itself?

The importance of exercise and its benefits on health is often talked about. However, people often overlook the importance of having good nutrition along with exercise. Did you know that nutrition plays a key role in managing energy, performance and engagement?

A well-balanced diet allows us to perform well during exercise, reduce risk of injuries, ensure best recovery and maintain a healthy body weight. However, it is important to note that nutrition requirements and goals are not static throughout a week or year. Instead, nutrition support should match exercise levels (low vs high intensity). Moreover, nutrition intake guidelines vary for everyone based on their body size. Thus, it is critical to consider the physiological requirements of the training session as well as the lifestyle and exercise level of the individual to understand the nutritional requirements of an individual.

Nutrients are substances that perform one or more physiological or biochemical functions in the body. There are essential and non-essential nutrients in which essential nutrients refer to nutrients that must be consumed from our diet as they cannot be produced or produced in inadequate quantities in our body.

When it comes to Pre and Post workout nutrition, it is important to know the essential macronutrient that should be consumed to increase performance. There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding this topic and many of these are not facts. We have put together a list of the main aspects to focus on regarding this topic to ensure that your diet optimizes your performance in the workout. We are also aware that in today’s hectic lifestyle, people have resulted to buying store bought products that are usually filled with confectionary sugar and preservatives. Hence, we have linked some of own recipes relevant to pre and post workout nutrition that have clean ingredient, are budget friendly and are quick, easy and hassle-free to put together. So, no more excuses!

 

1. Pre-Workout Nutrition: Carbohydrates (complex carbs, not simple carbs)

The main macronutrient that should be present in your pre-workout diet is Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates from the diet are the main fuel source to meet exercise energy requirements as there are limited amounts stored as glycogen in the muscle and liver. Hence, carbohydrates must be consumed to avoid hypoglycemia, the depletion of muscle glycogen which results in various symptoms such as fatigue, muscular weakness, headache, irritability and lack of ability to focus. Carbohydrates are often portrayed as evil in the media. Contrary to popular belief, not all carbohydrates are bad for us. There are simple carbohydrates such as white bread, sweets and jellies which are bad and complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, muesli and cereals which are extremely good for us and essential for our bodies.

Carbohydrate intake guidelines are as follows:

Exercise Intensity

Duration (hours)

Carbohydrate requirements (g/Kg body weight/day)

Light

< 1

4.0-4.5

Moderate

1-2

5.5-6.5

Heavy

4-5

7.5-8.5

 

Also, check out our Banana Pancake recipe as an option for a pre-workout healthy snack high in good carbohydrates: https://organicandwholesale.com/banana-pancake.html

 

2. Post-Workout Nutrition: Protein + Carbohydrates (complex)

The main macronutrient that should be present in your post-workout diet is protein along with carbohydrates. Proteins are composed of the basic unit called amino acids which provide nutrients for tissue growth repair and recovery. From protein, 8 of 22 amino acids are essential and therefore, cannot be synthesized in the body and must be consumed in the diet. Consumption of protein after a workout helps with recovery and replenishes stores in the body. This occurs through protein synthesis of enzymes and repairing muscle protein. Latest evidence has shown that, quality source of protein and timing of protein intake is more important than total amount of protein consumed. Quality sources of protein include lean white meats and plant protein powders. The Sacha Inchi seed, an Amazonian superfood, is also a good source of protein and it is high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 which is perfect as a post-workout healthy snack. The best recovery snack would be something that contains a carbohydrate-protein combination. Do check out our recipes to learn how you can create these at home easily!

No-Bake Matcha Protein Balls: https://organicandwholesale.com/no-bake-matcha-protein-balls.html

Blueberry Cacao Smoothie: https://organicandwholesale.com/blueberry-cacao-smoothie.html

Protein intake guidelines are as follows:

Group

Protein (g/Kg body weight/D)

E.g. 50 Kg person

Sedentary

0.8-1.0

40-50 g

Endurance Athlete

1.2-1.4

60-70 g

Strength Athlete

1.6-1.7

80-85 g

Adolescent Athlete

1.0-1.5

50-75 g

 

3. Hydration

Whether be it pre-exercise, during exercise or post-exercise, hydration is key as it helps to replace sweat loss and prevent heat exhaustion. The essential source to keep hydrated is good ol water. However, if the exercise lasts longer than an hour, then sports drinks are necessary. The sport drink solution should contain 4% - 8% carbohydrates (glucose) as well as 0.5g – 0.7g of sodium per litre of water. It is important to select a good sports drink by ensuring it is not carbonated, non-alcoholic, has an appropriate sugar level as well as the effects of the ingredients are known. Fluid intake guidelines include drinking 300-500 mL 2 hours before as well as 200 mL 15 minutes pre-exercise, hydrating with 150-250 mL every 15-20 minutes during exercise and finally drinking until urine is clear post-exercise.