Sports Nutrition

My workout essentials: dirty sneakers + flavoured soy beverage for proper recuperation after a workout.

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When trying to get their health on track, people often try to improve both their nutrition and physical activity regimens. However, an important aspect of health that should not be overlooked is how we eat prior to, during and after our physical prowess πŸ™‚ . Sports nutrition can affect our muscle mass, blood sugar levels and energy levels either for better or for worse. When we exercise, our body draws its energy from our blood sugar, then from its sugar stores (which is called “glycogen” and found in our muscles and liver). It is very important to replenish these sugar/carbohydrate reserves after physical activity for appetite control and energy. Also, when you work out (especially a muscular work session), you are causing micro- rips or tears to your muscles and these need to be repaired post-workout. The perfect ratio for recovery after a workout is 3 grams of carbohydrates to 1 gram of protein (contrary to popular belief, you require more carbohydrates than protein to properly recover after a workout). A simple example of something that meets this requirement is flavoured soy beverage (ex.chocolate, apple or strawberry soy beverage) as it has about 7 grams of protein and 21 grams of carbohydrates per 250 ml (1 cup). It is best to consume this snack in the first hour post-exercise as the enzymes (helper proteins that are responsible for accomplishing specific functions in the body) are, you could say, strict. They are only active in the hour following exercise, meaning, if you wait an hour and a half before having your snack, those little enzymes squeal “Sorry mate, we’re in a lazy mode now” and fail to properly aid your body. Here is how to sustain yourself and eat according to your goals and exercise type/frequency. It requires a few simple calculations and depends on your current weight:

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1) If you are trying to gain muscle mass:
Before working out: Carbohydrates (1 gram carbohydrate/kg of body weight), protein (0.4 grams of protein/kg of body weight) and 500 ml of water (a standard-sized water bottle).
During the workout: Carbohydrates (0.3-1.0 gram carbohydrate/kg of body weight), protein (0.1 grams of protein/kg body weight) and at least 500 ml of water.
After your workout: Carbohydrates (1.5 – 2.0 grams carbohydrate/kg of body weight), protein (0.5 grams of protein/kg of body weight) and at least 500 ml of water.

2) If you partake in endurance sports:
Before the workout: Carbohydrates (0.6-4.5 grams of carbohydrate/kg of body weight), protein (0.4 gram of protein/kg of body weight) and 500 ml of water.
During the workout: Carbohydrates (0.4-1.0 grams of carbohydrate/kg of body weight), no protein, 125-250 ml of water per 15 minutes.
After the workout: Carbohydrates (1.5 grams carbohydrate/kg of body weight), protein (0.5 grams of protein/kg of body weight) and at least 500 ml of water.

3) If you are working out and trying to lose weight:
Before the workout: Carbohydrates (at least 0.4 grams of carbohydrate/kg of body weight), protein (at least 0.2 gram of protein/kg of body weight) and 500 ml of water.
During the workout: Water should suffice. Drink about 125-250 ml of water per 15 minutes.
After the workout: Carbohydrates (at least 0.4 grams carbohydrate/kg of body weight), protein (at least 0.2 grams of protein/kg of body weight) and at least 500 ml of water.

The best way to absorb your “sports nutrition” is by ingesting liquid foods, as these are absorbed and assimilated more quickly in the body. For example, bring a smoothie made with fruits (for your carbohydrates) and hemp protein powder or hemp seeds (for protein) to the gym with you. If understanding the above is equivalent to you trying to understand another language, consult a sports dietitian in order to obtain a specialized plan tailored to your specific goals and situation.

Let’s make like Olivia Newton John and get physical!

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Happy workouts everybody! πŸ™‚

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