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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Shead

Foods that Muscle in on Fitness

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

Your body needs good quality fuel for optimum energy levels, endurance and strength. Generally a good whole food diet, avoiding additives, artificial flavourings and sweeteners and sugary fatty or salty snacks should ensure good muscle fuel (glycogen) stores, whilst avoiding energy dips. Below are some general tips for what to eat on those important training/competing days and when. Quantities will depend on weight, fitness level, intensity and event.

CARBOHYDRATES – an important source of energy and glycogen supply – choose quality whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit plus medium starchy vegetables e.g. sweet potato, yam and sweet corn.

PROTEIN – for growth, strength, recovery and repair- choose good quality poultry, fish, lean meat, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.

FATS – for energy, essential fatty acids, vitamins – choose oily fish, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

PRE-EXERCISE – Within two hours before exercise, medium-starch carbohydrates plus quality protein and fat may sustain energy and endurance levels.

DURING EXERCISE – Crucially carbohydrate drinks during endurance exercise may replace fluids/electrolytes lost, delay onset of fatigue and improve performance.

Less than 60 mins exercise – water should suffice.

60/90 mins or more – coconut water or an additive free isotonic drink

POST EXERCISE – In the first two hours quality carbohydrates, protein and fat plus liquid may aid muscle recovery, restore energy and replace nutrients/electrolytes/glycogen.

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