Research has shown that good nutrition and healthy eating can play a key role in enhancing sporting performance.
On a day to day basis it’s important to provide your body with essential nutrients for good health and have enough energy to meet the demands of physical activity, including recovery afterwards.
It is important to keep up your energy levels before, during and after activity.
What to eat and drink before exercise
- Eat at least 2-3 hours before activity to allow time for comfortable digestion.
- The meal should be familiar. Do not experiment with new foods prior to activity.
- Drink plenty of fluids with your pre-event meal, such as a glass of water.
- If you are anxious before the event or activity, a liquid meal supplement can take the place of a solid meal, eg. protein shake or fruit smoothies.
Examples of Pre-Activity meals (2-3 hours before competition):
- Breakfast cereal and skim milk
- One of these overnight oats protein breakfasts
- Toast, muffins or crumpets with jam or honey
- Baked beans on toast
- Pancakes and syrup
- Fruit salad and low fat yoghurt
- Baked potatoes with low fat filling
- A salad roll or sandwich and banana bread
- Liquid meal such as Sustagen
And if you’d like some smoothie bowl inspiration, you can see more here.
What to consume during exertion
- Keep up fluid levels throughout the activity.
- In events lasting longer than 90 minutes snack on foods to fuel your body, For example:
- 2-3 pieces of fruit
- Protein or bliss balls
- a muesli/sports bar
- 500 – 100mL sports drink
- 10 – 20 jelly beans
- It’s important to be prepared and take suitable food along with you to your event. Make sure it’s something you have tried beforehand.
After the Activity – Eating For Recovery
- Good nutrition can play a vital role in enhancing recovery after strenuous exercise.
- Refuel your body within the first 15 minutes after exercise and then again in 2 hours time.
- Ensure you drink plenty of water or a sports drink after your event.
- At this point consider using a percussion massage gun to alleviate soreness and reduce muscle tightness
Examples of After-Activity meals:
- 250mL of liquid meal supplement or a home-made protein shake or fruit smoothie
- Cup of vegetable soup with a wholemeal roll
- Large baked potato with low fat filling and a glass of skim milk.
- Bowl of fruit salad with ½ carton of low-fat fruit yoghurt.
- Superfoods like quinoa and chia seeds