We all love our food and understand its importance for sustaining a healthy lifestyle; we also love (we hope!) exercise and its importance to sustaining a healthy lifestyle. These two aspects, nutrition & exercise, go hand in hand, and are crucial for maintaining optimal health. We at WitFit Health Club Clayton will go into more detail on why proper nutrition is important for us before/after exercise and even some tips on what we should be aiming to eat in this week’s blog!
Food and Energy – Witfit Health Club Clayton
Food is what gives our body energy, the energy to complete day-to-day tasks, the energy to think, the energy to do absolutely everything. When we exercise we use our muscles, lungs, heart etc. which all then require additional energy. Therefore it makes sense for us to be supplying our body with increased energy supplies via adequate nutrition to get the best out of our workouts and help our body recover!
Here are some key food groups that relate to fuelling our body for pre/post exercise.
Carbohydrates are our main source of energy, once eaten they are broken down into glucose. an energy source readily available for the body to use found in foods such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans etc. An important feature of carbohydrates is that they can be stored within our muscles/liver as a fuel source called glycogen. This fuel source can be used for when our body becomes low in energy, acting like a backup battery for our bodies energy levels! If we don’t have enough carbohydrates in our body, we can have symptoms of fatigue, drowsiness, headaches etc. If we have too many carbohydrates these can be turned into triglycerides, a type of fat that in high levels can be detrimental to our health!
A table below highlights the amount of carbohydrates in grams you should be consuming per day based on you activity levels.
This one is quite easy for pre/post, it is all about providing energy (pre) and then replenishing energy used (post) workout.
Proteins main role is to repair, grow and maintain our bodies tissues, most importantly muscle. It is said to consume 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight per day, which is around 50g of protein per day for women, and 60g for men. These are baseline figures, and if you are completing regular weight training this may have to increase. Importantly however, it is not just about the quantity of protein consumed but also the quality! Protein can be broken up into amino acids, which are then split into essential vs. non-essential amino acids. This means that essential amino acids must be included in our diet, as our body is unable to create these amino acids itself. They need to be given to the body in food sources such as; eggs, milk, cheese, tofu, quinoa etc.
We at WitFit Health Club Clayton encourage our members to consume a source of protein after their workout to help facilitate the muscle repair/growth.
Often the food group those who exercise fear most, scared consuming fat will be doing the opposite of what they are trying to achieve. However fat is an important food source, as it helps with energy stores. As explained earlier carbohydrates are our main energy source, however after exercising in a workout for a certain amount of time (>30mins) our body switches to using fats as a form of energy.
Having a good amount of fat in our diet is also important to help absorb vitamins and help with the formation of hormones such as growth hormone (GH). This hormone, as it says in the name, helps bone, muscle and other tissues grow by stimulating protein to work and metabolising stored fat for energy.
In terms of amounts, we don’t want fats to exceed 35% of our total energy intake for the day. With saturated fats (chocolate, pastries, butter etc.) making up no more than 11% of our energy intake. We want to include unsaturated fats (nuts, fish, avocado etc.) as our primary source of fat intake.
When talking about nutrition it isn’t all about food, being hydrated is just as important as having enough energy. Having adequate hydration before a workout is important, as we lose fluid during a workout, so ensure during the day you are keeping up your fluids! We recommend aiming for 2L of water per day. Further, during exercise our core temperature rises, to combat this, our body initiates the action of sweating, to help cool our body down. This causes a loss of water/salt, therefore we need to be replenishing this post workout.
This was just a brief overview of the role nutrition plays in exercise, and the importance of a balanced diet. As always, if you are interested in nutrition, whether that be to help lose weight, gain muscle or to just know if you are eating the right things! Book in a consultation today with our dietician, and have her assess your current diet and create a plan!
Check out our FaceBook page to find out more about nutrition and what we can offer you or as always come in and see the team at WitFit Health Club Clayton today to book a free consultation and chat about how we can help you with your training today!
The WitFit Team.
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