Nutrition part 4 – Final two weeks nutrition
Guest blogger Nicole Walsh, Holistic Nutritionist
Focus, focus, focus!
I don’t know about you but I certainly over-indulged over the long weekend and it’s perhaps only the most stellar amongst us that didn’t. So if you’re feeling like you need a kick-start (or a full body cleanse!) don’t start panicking. With the right nutritional balance over the next few weeks, you’ll hit the start line feeling strong and ready.
Here’s what you need to know.
What you put in your body over the next two weeks will have a significant impact on how well you perform on race day. We get nutrients and minerals from whole foods which then provide us with energy. If you load your body with the bad stuff, it will be depleted of the nutrients it needs to thrive leading to difficulties performing on race day. So if you haven’t fully committed to eating ‘clean’ already, or you over-indulged over the bank holiday weekend then it’s a good idea to make this your focus from here on in. Concentrate on eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats for the next few weeks.
Don’t Exercise on an Empty Stomach
Be sure to fuel the tank before starting your training sessions. 30 to 60 minutes before exercise eat something that is easily digested and carbohydrate-rich. Great pre-workout snacks include:
- Greek yoghurt
- A banana
- A slice of whole grain toast with jam
- A small bowl of porridge with sliced strawberries or apples
For workouts lasting 90 minutes or more, a more substantial pre-workout meal is appropriate to help your stomach feel satisfied throughout the exercise session. A balanced meal before this session could be:
- Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of granola and sliced almonds
- Sliced banana and natural peanut butter on whole grain toast
- Scrambled eggs with veggies and a slice of whole grain toast
If you are exercising long enough to need to replenish carbohydrates, you will also need to replenish sodium. The following signs of during and after your long workouts are indications that you need sodium.
- Muscle cramps
If you experience these symptoms, something like coconut water is ideal. The symptoms of loss of sodium are very similar to symptoms of dehydration, so consider your symptoms in relation to your consumption of fluids and urine colour. If your urine is clear and you have a headache, it’s likely that a salty snack will help and more water will make the headache worse.
Respect Your Body After Exercise
After exercise and especially after a race, your body is working hard to rehydrate to store carbohydrates for tomorrow’s workout. to repair fatigued muscles and to reduce inflammation to promote optimal recovery from exercise. Focus on unprocessed and colourful foods to make a balanced recovery meal:
- Whole grain toast spread with ricotta cheese, sprinkled with ground ginger and cinnamon and topped with sliced pear or berries
- Whole wheat pita stuffed with chicken or salmon salad
- Whole grain pasta with marinara sauce, chicken and spinach
- Smoothie with yogurt, tart cherry juice, banana, blueberries and almond butter
- Baked sweet potato stuffed with sautéed spinach and chicken