Would you put the wrong fuel in your high performance car? Likewise, we need to use the best fuel for our bodies. I asked one of our leaders, Julie Dodd, at SE Fitness to expand upon the importance of nutrition.
‘Having listened to our Olympians being interviewed you can’t fail to be impressed with their dedication and hard work. They follow a schedule that would seem impossible for most of us. They mentioned not only their training programmes, but also their nutritional plan and this is one area that we can follow the path set by our champions.
If you go to the gym a few times a week, are preparing for your next half or full marathon, or are just starting out on a new exercise programme, nutrition and what you eat is as important to you as it to an Olympian, if you want to get the most out of your exercise, perform at your best or stay injury free.
Before you start spending money on sports drinks and food supplements get the basics right first.
- Carbohydrate is an important fuel for exercise, it needs to be restocked each day, and inadequate supplies will lead to early fatigue.
- Protein is needed for the building blocks for new tissues and to repair the body cells and is essential to help you recover from your exercise.
- Essential fats help increase the delivery of oxygen to the muscles, improve endurance, speed up recovery, and reduce inflammation and joint stiffness.
- As you exercise you produce more heat, so being well hydrated before, during and after exercise is essential.
The specifics of what you should eat vary with each person, and will depend upon your weekly exercise programme, but ensuring that you have the right fuel will make a big difference to your sports performance.
Mo Farah starts his day with a bowl of porridge, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for us.’