Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nutritional Requirements for Fitness and Sport

We all know that adequate nutrition is extremely important for optimal performance in any activity, but there seems to be a lot of confusion on what is best to eat before and after exercise.
OFF, It is extremely important to consume food before you exercise! 
There is nothing worse than watching my clients suffer through a workout, struggling to perform due to inadequate pre-workout nutrition. I'm writing this entry in hopes to educate & motivate my clients and my followers. I openly welcome any other ideas, thoughts, and criticism from my peers!  :)

What to eat before exercise:
This snack should be relatively high in carbohydrate to maximize blood glucose availability, relatively low in fat and fiber to minimize gastrointestinal distress and facilitate gastric emptying, moderate in protein and well-tolerated by the individual.
Ex. Rice cakes, brown long grain rice, oatmeal, 1/2 bagel, clean ingredients granola bar

During extended exercise training sessions:
Aim to replace fluid losses and consume 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour of training to maintain blood glucose levels.   This is especially important for training sessions lasting longer than on hour, exercise in extreme heat, cold or high altitude. Try Cliff bar shot blocks, dried fruit, or sports drinks.

30-60 min after exercise:
Try to focus on carbohydrates and protein. Studies show that the best meals for post-workout refueling include an abundance of carbohydrates accompanied by complete proteins. The carbs replenish the used-up energy that is normally glucose stored in your muscle and liver. the protein helps rebuild the muscle tissue that were fatigued with exercise.   Ex. Milk, honey, peanut butter, protein powders, banana

About 75-90g of carbohydrate (approximately five to six servings of grain, root, fruit or vegetable) per hour for optimal refueling. Keep in mind the amount of refueling necessary depends on the intensity and duration of the training session.

To maximize your pre-event hydration USATF recommends consuming 17-20 oz of water or sports drink two to three hours before exercise and 10-12 oz of water or sports drink within 10 min of exercise. Following exercise the athlete should aim to correct any fluid imbalances that occurred during the session, especially focusing on replenishing sodium. 

Reference ACE Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant Manual 2nd edition


  1. Can u give some examples of actual foods that have these requirements for before and after working out?

  2. Ah ah! YES! Thank you for posting, I've re-edited the posting to include examples. let me know if you have any other questions. Different foods are going to work for different folks, depending on preference, sensitivities, allergies etc. What's important is to know the amount of carbohydrates in grams to consume, so you can check the labels of your favorite products to see what works for you. :)

  3. Excellent straight forward post.. this is probably THE most common mistake I see in people trying to lose weight and it KILLS the workout, and eats your muscle! Thanks for the post.

  4. Megzz, I just found all your information on hoopers hip, foam rollers and whatnot. I've only been hooping a couple months, and KNOW I need to start working on going the other direction, but this will push me to do it even more. Additionally, I was in a car accident a couple months ago and was instructed to do foam roller exercises on my back. They said a rolled towel will work too, but now I have more incentive to get an actual foam roll. Thanks for the info!