Whether you are just starting out on your health and wellness pathway, or are well into your fitness journey, educating yourself around your nutritional needs is vitally important.
As soon as you start working out and stressing your body, you want to make sure you’re fuelling and taking care of it properly from day one. Understanding the purpose of everything going into your mouth is one of the keys to success if you want to see real change.
These are some of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to sports nutrition:
1. Eating all proteins, no carbs
Many rookie athletes make the mistake of thinking they should only eat protein and avoid carbohydrates. However, focusing solely on protein is not the best way to build muscle. The body actually utilises protein more effectively if carbohydrates are available to consume. Plus, carbs are important for replenishing glycogen stores.
For the best results, your protein intake needs to be combined with a balance of good-quality calories from carbohydrates. Meal and snack options combining quality protein and carbs include:
· Tuna and rice with salad
· Turkey and salad sandwich on a wholemeal roll
· Tofu, rice, and beans with vegetables
2. Not knowing when to choose a sports drink over water
While water consumption should be the priority, there are times when our bodies need added sugars and electrolytes to maintain energy levels and hydration status during exercise. Follow this simple guide to help understand what and when your body requires water or electrolytes from a sports drink:
· Water is the preferred fuel for hydration if athletes are doing a light workout. Typically, workouts under 30 minutes do not require a sports drink.
· When engaging in sports or exercise for more than 30 minutes, an athlete’s body will need the electrolytes from a sports drink to replenish the liquid lost through sweat.
3. Not timing workout supplements correctly
It is important to consider not only what supplements to take but also when to take them. Here’s another quick guide:
· Pre-Workout: Consider giving yourself a boost by taking a pre-workout supplement with caffeine. Caffeine stimulates your body’s metabolism, which in effect can help maintain focus and reduce fatigue.
· During a Workout: While working out, you’ll want to stay hydrated and fuelled, so look for sports drinks with a good amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes! Electrolytes can replace valuable nutrients such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are lost when you sweat.
· Post-Workout: Post-workout nutrition serves two purposes: refuelling what you just burnt off and preparing your body for the next workout. Therefore, athletes should focus on a combination of protein and high-quality carbohydrates. Great post-workout options include:
· Poached eggs on toast with smoked salmon
· Steak, sweet potato, and steamed vegetables
If you are looking to become more active, you don’t have to change everything overnight. Start small, make little changes, but don’t wait until you feel in super good shape to add in sports nutrition. Remember, nutrition goals require commitment, but the results are worth it!
Always read the label – use only as directed.
Before embarking on any physical activity, please consult your physician.