The best foods for fitness
Every food choice you make affects the way your body works – so how do make sure you’re eating the right things for the best workout?
If you’re in training, whether for pure enjoyment, or for a big event like a marathon, then there’s no doubt you’ll be looking for ways to boost and maintain your energy levels for the most effective workout session.
When you increase your body’s energy expenditure (i.e. do more exercise), you may also need to increase, or adjust, your body’s energy consumption (i.e. change your diet).
If you plan to train after a long day at work, you can prepare your body throughout the day by eating small amounts of slow-releasing sugars frequently. While people often avoid snacks for fear of putting on excess weight, peppering the day with small portions of dried fruit, nuts, raw vegetable crudités and wholegrain crackers will ensure you store enough energy to prevent burn-out during your evening workout.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast that fills you up. Porridge with dried fruit and nuts is a great option, or you can try a boiled egg with wholegrain toast if you’ve got more time on your hands. For your main pre-workout meal, choose energy-rich foods like wholegrain pasta, brown rice and potatoes teamed with a protein, such as fish or meat.
One top nutrient for fitness is iron. This mineral plays an important part in the production of haemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscles, which aids the circulation of oxygen around the body and boosts athletic performance by increasing the efficiency of muscles. Great sources of iron are meat (especially red like beef or lamb), and fish. You will need to supplement these iron sources with vitamins to aid the absorption of iron. You can get these by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Just before you head off to start your training session, have a quick snack, such as a couple of slices of chicken, a handful of nuts or a cereal bar, to give your body one last boost.
For more information, head over to our Sports Nutrition page.