To achieve athletic goals, whatever they may be, the body needs energy. A healthy and balanced diet is the key to success. Put simply, the body works like a motor. If the wrong fuel is used, the engine grinds to a halt and cannot develop its full power and performance.
HEALTHY NUTRITION FOR REGULAR TRAINING
The stronger and longer you challenge your body through sports activities, the more important it is, of course, to fill the store well before the training and then replenish it well. One point that many may forget or simply don’t pay much heed to is the issue of the “late dinner”. Often, we are so stressed by work and everyday life that the main meal is prepared and eaten in the evening, and the first mistake is thereby already made. If you eat too late – between 6 and 8 o’clock in the evening – the body has to process it first, digest it. As a rule, it does this in the time during which it should actually be resting, and thus when you are asleep, but the body is actually awake, digesting your food. Consequences manifest themselves in the form of restless sleep, or tiredness despite getting enough sleep. This is not the ideal start to the morning. How should we do things differently? I’ll explain it to you now.
START THE DAY WITH A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
Fundamentally, healthy food or meals do not have to be complicated and can very often be prepared very quickly. There’s no time to waste in the morning! With a balanced breakfast consisting of yoghurt, fresh fruits, oatmeal, bananas, mango, berries, coconut flakes, etc., you have already done a lot of things right. Muesli can always be prepared very quickly and varied easily. If yoghurt is too monotonous in the long run, I recommend, for example, almond milk or hazelnut milk. Healthy, delicious and just a good alternative to yoghurt.
What I would not recommend to you are the chocolate cereals, etc. These usually contain a lot of sugar, can quickly send your blood sugar levels soaring, and you will be hungry again in 2 hours at the latest. If you do not like muesli, I suggest wholemeal bread with hummus – or also just with butter, avocado, ham or tomatoes. It is important that healthy food also tastes good. Don’t eat avocados just because they are oh-so-healthy if you don’t like them.
LUNCH – THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL BEFORE EXERCISE!
For most people, lunch is the last major meal before they exercise after work. It’s not just an empty cliché that lunch is the most important meal of the day. After a balanced and energy-filled breakfast, it is important to recharge your body at no later than lunchtime. Working hours and set lunch breaks often mean you have to grab something quickly, and the options for this are often not the healthiest. If you really want to take the topic of healthy nutrition seriously and then be fit for regular training, I recommend preparing your own meals for lunch. Of course, this takes some time, but your body will thank you for that at the end of the finish line.
NUTRITION FOR LONG AND INTENSIVE TRAINING SESSIONS
Long and intensive training sessions require good preparation. For example, your carbohydrate stores should be well filled before a long cycle ride or run. As mentioned earlier, a balanced breakfast will provide the best foundation. It is also important to mention that you should drink enough. You should generally avoid sugary drinks. But I always make a small exception for longer bike rides, for example. For me, a break with coffee and lemon cola is just part of a long ride. I add a Snickers bar, too. If you run out of steam during a session, you can also try energy gels or bars.
Gels can also be diluted well with water in a water bottle and taken as a drink. To keep your carbohydrate stores well filled, it is a good idea to consume about 60 – 70 grams of carbs per hour. Depending on the manufacturer, gels and bars have about 20 – 30 g. A Snickers and cola are a great help, too.
In summary, I’d like to make the following recommendation – listen to your body. It tells you exactly what it needs, and if it is screaming “cola + Snickers” or “kebab”, enjoy the naughty treat. It’s definitely worth it, perhaps it will motivate you to give that bit more at the next training session.
It is also important to mention that healthy and balanced nutrition can be easy and fast. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s difficult or complicated. Try new recipes, enjoy cooking and strengthen your healthy body to be fit for the next training session or competition.