Archive for August, 2010

Good Sources of Energy for Sport

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Carbohydrate is the most important fuel for energy, so you should eat lots of foods that are rich in starchy carbohydrates.

Many different foods contain carbohydrate. The richest sources of carbohydrate are bread, rice, pasta, cereals and potatoes, but other foods also contain useful amounts, such as: fruit, vegetables, beans, pulses, yoghurt and milk.

Carbohydrate is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, and if you get tired during your sport or activity, this might be because your glycogen stores are running low.

The more you exercise, the more carbohydrate you need. The actual amount you need depends upon the type of exercise you’re doing, the intensity, duration and frequency of the exercise, and your fitness level.

The bigger the glycogen stores in your muscles, the longer you can perform. So this is particularly important if you do an endurance sport such as marathon running or long distance cycling.

After exercise, your muscles can refuel their glycogen stores twice as fast as normal, so it’s important to eat foods containing carbohydrate soon after you have finished exercising.


Healthy Eating for Sport

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Eating a healthy balanced diet will provide you with all the nutrients you need to take part in your favourite sport or activity.

This means eating a wide variety of foods, see below for how to get the balance right.

If you take part in a sport regularly, perhaps you’re a member of a club or team, or a regular at your local gym, then the best way to get the most out of your sport is to:

  • drink plenty of fluids
  • eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • eat plenty of starchy foods (carbohydrate) to keep you going during exercise such as rice, bread, pasta (try to choose wholegrain varieties when you can) and potatoes.
  • eat some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and pulses
  • have some milk and dairy foods
  • just eat a small amount of foods high in fat, salt and sugar
  • eat enough food for your level of activity. If you eat too little then you won’t be able to keep up your exercise levels

It is important to eat a variety of these foods to make sure we get all the nutrients our bodies need.

Timing of meals around workouts is just as important as what you eat if you want to keep your energy levels up. For the first two hours after exercise, muscles can refuel their glycogen stores twice as fast as normal so it’s important to eat carbohydrate-containing foods as soon as possible after a workout or exercise session.

See my next blog for more on starchy foods for exercise.