Written by Emily Satrazemis, RD, CSSD | Photography by Paul Buceta
There’s so much more to being fit than just eat, sleep, train, repeat. Read on to find out which nutrients your body needs to support your training style.
Without a doubt, fueling your workout is essential for optimum training. Would you attempt to go on a road trip without gas in the tank? But this rule doesn’t only apply to what you eat right before training; it encompasses your overall diet. Making sure you’re getting enough calories and the right balance of nutrients on a daily basis helps keep your gas tank full and gives you the ability to train your hardest. But what your body and level of training requires won’t be the same as the next person’s, which is why it’s important to know exactly which nutrients (as well as how much and when you consume them) will give you what you need to perform and recover optimally. Whether you’re training to run 26.2 miles or you love hitting the iron, read on to find out how to make your next workout your best ever.
It is so important to ensure you are including enough carbohydrates to meet your training demands; choose starchy and complex carbs, like potatoes, pasta, and whole grains, for meals 4-6 hours before your workout, and more quick-acting sugars like honey, fruit, or a sports drink, 30-60 minutes before your workout (these can also be beneficial during longer workouts to keep you lasting longer). Focus not only on the type of workout, but also on how you’re feeling to better understand your needs—your body will tell you if you are not getting enough fuel or need a little boost to keep it going longer.
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However, fat should be limited in post workout snacks and meals as it can slow the absorption of the protein and carbohydrates your muscles so desperately need. If you are feeling unusually sore, it may be because you’re not getting enough nutrients for recovery. What’s more, a lack of proper recovery nutrition (or none at all) can make you hit a wall faster the next time you train.