Whether your exercise routine involves taking part in sports competitions or going for a swim or gym class after work, good nutrition improves both performance and general health by providing the right fuel for the body.
There is no one size fits all approach - every person is individual; however here are some general guidelines that everyone can apply:
Exercise increases nutrient requirements. So you need to be having a good diet to begin with that includes protein, carbohydrates and fats as well as the full range of vitamins and minerals before you even start to think about additional nutrients you will need for exercise.
Timing is really important. What you eat and when will impact on your performance and on how well you recover afterwards.
Hydration is essential. You need to be properly hydrated before you start exercise as well as drinking sufficient amounts during and after exercise. There is a lot of conflicting evidence about the type of fluids to consume and how to ensure you are replacing electrolytes like salt. Bear in mind that the sports drinks contain a lot of sugar so they are suitable and useful in some situations, but not all.
Balanced blood sugar levels are important for maintaining energy levels - very important when exercise is being fitted in amongst many other things every day! Small dietary changes can help to balance blood sugar levels.
For individual advice on all the above issues, contact a nutritionist.
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Joe Alvarez BSc ANutrSeptember 4th, 2016