SPORTS NUTRITION: WHAT TO EAT BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER SPORT

Did you know? Fulfilling your sporting objectives is 30% training and 70% balanced diet! 

Indeed, given that food is the fuel your body needs, it is essential to eat properly to optimise your physical and sporting performance. A poor or insufficient diet can be detrimental to your sporting performance as well as your recovery! 

Overlooking your diet will create an imbalance, making it harder to attain your objectives, whatever they may be. And contrary to what you might think, training is not the biggest challenge: If your food hygiene isn't up to scratch, your efforts will come to nothing. 

That's why, as sports enthusiasts, we will discover together how to take care of your diet and how to eat properly before, during and after physical exercise in order to make the most of your sporting sessions. Let's go!

1/ WHAT TO EAT BEFORE SPORT

Eat before a physical effort, OK! But why? It's advisable to eat 1 to 3h before sports. Why? So that you can properly digest your breakfast or lunch and avoid any digestive problems.  

A) WHAT TO EAT FOR A TRAINING SESSION

- Let's start with BREAKFAST. It must be easy to digest and have a low glycaemic index. The lower the glycaemic index, the lower your blood sugar level will be. This means that by choosing low GI foods, you will be reducing any peaks in your blood sugar and insulin levels. The body will therefore assimilate the sugars more slowly, so that this fuel will be used for your muscles and not stored as fat. The way in which a food is prepared also has an effect on your GI. As a result, it's preferable to consume unprocessed products (i.e. products which have been industrialised as little as possible). So, drop the Honey Loops and take some granola instead. Similarly wholemeal bread is preferable to white bread. "Little reminder": think Brown rather than White. 

sports-breakfast

Breakfast ideas with a low GI:             

 

> Fromage blanc (or Greek yoghurt) + Granola or muesli (home-made ideally) + fresh fruit or dried fruit 

Granola recipe: oats + almonds + flaked almonds + honey + dried fruit or chocolate chips 

> Wholemeal bread toasts + avocado + salmon or fried egg 

> sweet Bowl Cake 

Bowl cake recipe:  - 1 egg - 4 tbsp oat flakes  - 3 tbsp vegetable milk  - 1 tsp baking powder  - 1 pinch of cinnamon  - A few dark chocolate chips or some cocoa  - 1 tsp honey or agave syrup  Stir the mixture and put it in a bowl. Cook for 2 min (4 min maximum) in the microwave. Invert the cake onto a plate and add your favourite toppings (fresh fruit, dried fruit, coconut flakes, etc.) This kind of breakfast is equally suitable for eating before or after sport, if you are doing it on an empty stomach.    

A SNACK when leaving work #teamsnack 

It's important to listen to what your body is telling you. If you don't feel hungry, a simple energy drink will be enough. However, if you have a craving for food, I recommend the following snacks, to be taken 1h before the physical exercise, depending on the level of intensity for optimal digestion: 

For the "I've got time" TEAM: 

> Fromage blanc (or Greek yoghurt) + Granola or muesli + well-ripened fruit ( more easily digestible) 

> Fresh smoothie

> Pancake (1 egg + 2 bananas + 90g oat flakes + toppings according to preference) 

 

For the "I don't have time" TEAM: 

> Well-ripened fruit (the best: banana) 

> 20 g of dried fruit (apricots, raisins, figs, etc.) 

> Stewed fruit without added sugar

> Cereal bar 

 

Don't forget to always drink plenty of water.

B) WHAT TO EAT BEFORE A COMPETITION

To find out what you must eat one week before the event, 3 days before, and finally what is the ideal meal you should eat before the competition itself, follow our advice:

2/ WHAT TO EAT DURING SPORT

"Only eat if you feel the need".  Effort ≤ 1½h: You don't have to eat, drinking plenty of water is sufficient. If you feel the need for sugar, make yourself a small energy drink (water + sodium + honey) or opt for the electrolytes. To find out more about electrolytes:

Effort ≥ 1½h: When training for more than one hour, your body will start to demand some sugar. To cope with the dehydration and drop in energy, hydrating and eating food during physical effort will be the solution.  Remember to hydrate yourself properly with a sports drink (isotonic or energy). You can choose to make your drink yourself: -> here is a home-made recipe: 40cl of still water at ambient temperature + 1 pinch of baking powder + honey or 20cl of juice containing 100% pure fruit (e.g. grape or pineapple). Otherwise, you can get the Aptonia ISO ready-to-drink isotonic drink or prepare it yourself with the Aptonia ISO powder. To find out more about isotonic drinks:

isotonic-drink

 

 

It's important to hydrate properly throughout the session by drinking small mouthfuls to compensate for the losses of water and minerals (sodium, magnesium and iron in particular). In addition to the drink, choose a really digestible snack that is easy to carry and eat. This will provide the carbs you need to compensate for the energy losses.  Here are a few examples of snacks:  > 20 g of almonds (x 20 almonds/day)  > 20 - 30g of dried fruit (e.g. 6-8 dried apricots)  > 1 well-ripened fruit (the most easily digestible possible with a "fine skin or no skin"), e.g. 1 banana or 60 g of blueberries  > 1 stewed fruit without added sugar  > 1 fruit jelly (Aptonia energy fruit jellies) or 1 almond pasta (Aptonia energy almond bar).  > 1 stewed fruit (Aptonia energy fruit mix)  > 1 smoothie (beetroot + apple + lemon juice if needed 1 tsp of honey if too acidic)  > Energy gels for intense trainings sessions or prolonged physical efforts To find out more about energy gels: 

If you want to minimise any stomach problems and get your digestive system to work properly before a physical effort, follow our recommendations in this advice:

3/ WHAT TO EAT AFTER SPORT

-> 30 min to 2h after physical exercise The recovery phase with nutrition is essential in order to properly rehydrate and adequately rebuild one's energy reserves for superior muscle recovery. During the 30 minutes following the physical activity ≥ 1h, you can consume 1 L of a drink with sodium bicarbonate to compensate for water and mineral losses. This drink will recharge your body with salt and minerals and prevent acidosis (rapid increase in acidity causing cramps and other problems).  In Cold Weather:  Savoury broth (1 L of hot water + 1 or 2 organic vegetable stock cubes)  In Hot Weather:  Fresh water rich in bicarbonate (Vichy or St Yorre)  Energy drink (1 L of still coconut-flavoured water + 1 to 2 pinches of baking soda + honey or 100% pure fruit juice)  In Hot Weather AND Cold Weather after an intense or extended physical effort: the Aptonia recovery drink that contains all the elements needed by the body to recover. To find out more about the recovery drink:

herbal tea

I recommend having no alcohol and not too much coffee or tea (more than 2 to 3 cups/day) because they can slow down the recovery phase after sport. Acting on the nervous system, their diuretic properties cause the body to lose water. They also lead to troubled sleep and can cause digestive problems such as heartburn and accelerated digestion. So why not try herbal tea? 

Within 2 hours of a physical effort, I recommend eating to recover more quickly and rebuild your glycogen reserves. If you are unable to eat soon after a physical effort, you can take a snack so you can hang on until your meal. 

Snacks after the session if the main meal is for later: 

> Handful of Granola or muesli (home-made ideally) > 20-30 g mix of dried and oleaginous fruit 

> Smoothie prepared in advance (banana, orange, 100% pure pineapple juice) 

> Stewed fruit to drink (Aptonia Energy fruit mix)

> Cereal or almond bar (Aptonia) 

 

Lunch or dinner after the session: 

Framework of the meal: 1 portion rich in fat + 1 protein + 1 carb + all the vegetables want + dairy product + raw or cooked fruit + hydration 

> Cold salad (avocado + chicken or salmon + (wholemeal pasta or brown rice or chickpeas, etc.) + cherry tomatoes or all the vegetables you want + feta or mozzarella + light olive oil/balsamic vinegar sauce or fromage blanc/lemon/chopped parsley) herbal tea + well-ripened fruit or stewed fruit without added sugar 

> Hot dish steamed salmon or chicken breast (1 tsp vegetable oil) + half or full wholemeal carb or well-cooked dry vegetables + all the cooked or raw vegetables you want (soup or steamed or fried) Fromage blanc + raw or cooked or stewed fruit without added sugar Herbal tea 

END

Don't forget: "We are what we eat".

In conclusion, what you eat before, during and after sport plays an important role in energy and physical recovery. That's why you mustn't overlook your diet and hydration to stay healthy and set your sights on good sporting objectives.Stick to 3 meals a day and don't hesitate to include a light snack as part of your eating habits between the morning and evening meal to avoid grazing during the day. Now you can experience the fitness of a true athlete to the full!

geraldine-mourier

Géraldine

Nutritionist dietician, sportswoman, horse riding enthusiast and horse rider.

Food lover, without restriction! 

"Eating healthily and training regularly is the best way to a balanced lifestyle".

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