Whether you're a professional athlete looking to improve your performance or a novice just looking to stay in shape, your diet plays an essential role in your physical activity and the benefits you can gain from it.
Poor nutrition can rob you of energy during exercise, cause you to gain or lose a lot of weight, make the recovery phase difficult and slow down muscle gain. On the other hand, a proper diet will maximize the potential of your exercises and help you reach your goals more quickly. Here is some practical information that will guide you in adopting an appropriate diet for your sport activity:
The basis of the sportsman's diet
A good diet, adapted to physical effort, should include carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and fluids (water) :
- Carbohydrates are your main source of energyCarbohydrates are your body's fuel. Carbohydrates are commonly referred to as "sugars". You've probably heard of "slow sugars" and "fast sugars".
- Proteins are involved in the construction of muscle tissue and in the good oxygenation of the body through the red blood cells. If there is a shortage of carbohydrates and lipids, your body can also get its energy from your protein reserves.
- Lipidswhich are composed of good fats, should not be ignored by athletes either. They are an alternative energy source to carbohydratesIt is also a temperature regulator and organ protector.
- Finally, fluids, a term that generally refers to water, which you simply cannot do without. The human body is largely made up of water. Water ensures the circulation of nutrients in your body but also the evacuation of toxins.
What to eat before your workout
Whether you are playing sports outdoors or going to a gym without commitmentThere are two important parameters to take into account, in terms of nutrition, before going to the gym. The first parameter is what you will eat. The second being the timingi.e. when you are going to eat.
It is advisable to take a hearty meal two to three hours before your workout. This meal will preferably consist of a lean meat (such as chicken), for protein and fat, with vegetables for carbohydrates. For dessert, you can have fruit, a hazelnut cereal bar, or yogurtto supplement your protein and carbohydrate intake.
If you don't have time to eat a good meal and only have an hour or two before you go to the gym, then opt for a small carbohydrate snack with a small amount of protein. Your snack could be fruit and yogurt, or oatmeal and fruit mixed with milk.
And if you're in an even bigger hurry, and only have 15 or 30 minutes to spare, then take something light and high in carbohydrates. A banana, an apple or small cakes will do very well.
In all casesavoid fatty foods (fries, hamburger ...) and foods that can cause gas and bloating (white beans, cauliflower ...).
Can we do sports on an empty stomach?
The answer to this question is yes. If you want to burn more fatFor example, you can choose to wake up in the morning with an empty stomach and go for a jog. However, you must be careful to stay well hydrated (before, during and after sport) and to do not do intensive sessions. The lack of carbohydrates in the blood can cause discomfort, so do not force and go easy, if you decide to exercise without eating.
What to eat after your workout
After the effort, your muscles enter a phase of recovery and reconstruction. Eating protein is the best thing you can doIn terms of nutrition, to accelerate this recovery phase and take advantage of it to develop your muscles .
To do this, you have a wide selection of protein-rich foods to choose from, such as eggs, dairy products, or cereals (oats). And if you want to promote mass gain, you can also use protein powder.
However, you should not neglect the carbohydrates either. Combine fruits or vegetables to your protein is also recommended at the end of a physical activity.
Hydrate before, during and after sport
Drink water regularly and make sure you are well hydrated is a critical point that cannot be stressed enough. Your endurance, your ability to fight against fatigue and your performance is considerably degraded from the moment your body lacks water.
If it is possible to go without food and to practice a physical activity without eating, hydration remains essential before, during and after the sport.
Drinking water is perfect for most sports. However, when you have to sustain an intensive effort for more than an hour, it is preferable to drink a energy drink for sports. Such a drink contains mineral salts, referred to as electrolytes, coupled with carbohydrates. This makes it more invigorating than water.
And you, what sport do you practice? And what is your menu before and after sports?