Sports nutrition can be very confusing. Do you eat before a workout? If so what and how much? Should you eat during a workout session? Will I gain weight if I eat before going to sleep? There are so many questions! Luckily research has given us many sound answers to help with maintaining stamina while exercising as well as helping with recovery afterward.
The type of exercise does play an important role in the food timing and choices. An endurance athlete running two hours or more will require a certain amount of carbohydrate intake before the workout along with food every hour during the workout. A weight lifter does not necessarily need to eat during the training session, however, the nutrient intake before and after is very important in order to achieve muscle growth and repair. An athlete who is doing a HIIT workout may not be able to eat for 1-2 hours before the session but after the workout, it is important to replenish the carbohydrate and fluids.
Hydration is an extremely important part of sports nutrition. Even if a person does not think they sweat very much, they do lose water and electrolytes. Drinking at least 8 cups of water per day is essential, more if long endurance workouts are your preference. Electrolytes can be added to the water on very long workouts or if the temperature is high.
Finally, it is ok to eat a snack before going to bed! The research has shown that eating protein and low glycemic carbohydrate help with muscle recovery but will not cause you to gain weight. Enjoy!
Dr. Judith Snider is a Certified Sports Nutritionist, she is an avid runner, cyclist and has competed in several marathons and Ironman competitions. You can book a complimentary consultation at 905-770-5131.