We are becoming more and more obsessed with making the most of our workout. We want the
best results and we want them now, but what is the secret of getting there? Everyone is different.
Our bodies and our training style will depict exactly what we need to do to maximise our workout
performance. However, there is somewhere where we can start to help ourselves realise our
fitness dreams … and that is workout nutrition.
When you are just starting out on your workout nutrition journey you need to establish what your
goals are and what kind of training you’ll be taking part in to be able to formulate your ultimate
plan. If you’re an endurance athlete, like a marathon runner, then you should be considering what
kind of diet and nutritional supplement boosts you need to allow yourself to power through long
workouts. For bodybuilders, looking to work on gaining muscle and strengthening existing muscles,
nutrition to support your muscles should be a key component in your plan. If you undertake regular
exercise and just want to be able to push your body a little bit further then a nutrition plan to help
boost you all round is a great idea. Again everyone’s training varies, and so will nutritional needs,
but there are some basics that everyone can follow and take advantage of to help start improving
their exercise performance.
It all starts before you even start working out, priming your body for your training session is vital
and will have a direct impact on your performance and fitness abilities throughout your workout.
You need the right sustenance to be able to get you through a hard session, no matter what your
goal is, whether you’re looking to bulk or slim down.
Complex carbohydrates should be your go to. They provide you with the all-important slow
releasing energy which is able to keep you going for an entire workout. Simple carbohydrates will
only give you a small temporary spike in blood sugar and energy, while neither are outright better
than the other those complex carbohydrates have their benefits. Eating something like oats, brown
rice or brown grains around one and a half to two hours before your workout will allow them
enough time to be properly digested so you have all the energy you need to get going. Carbs will
provide your muscles with the essential glycogen you need to lift more and lift longer.
Don’t forget to hydrate. Sweating can cause a body mass deficit as you lose weight through the
loss of fluids. Even a small body mass deficit can affect your mental and physical performance. It is
recommended that you consume 0.5 to 0.6 litres of water four hours before you work-out and 0.2
to 0.4 litres around 10 to 15 minutes before you start training to keep your fluids balanced and in
For the Duration
People often forget that nutrition during your workout is just as important as before and after.
Staying hydrated during a workout is crucial, but think about hydrating with something more than
just water. While water is essential to ensuring you are replenishing the fluids that you are losing
through sweat the little addition of electrolytes can help to support your hydration even further.
Electrolytes play an important role in keeping the water balance, both inside and outside of your
cells, so that your muscles and organs can continue to function to the best of their ability. Consider
incorporating drinks that include important electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, magnesium
and calcium next time you reach for something to keep you hydrated when you’re working out.
Vitamin B12 is a secret weapon when it comes to keeping you energised and improving your
endurance during a training session. Consuming nutritional sports supplements that contain
vitamin B12 while you’re exercising can help to extend the time it takes for fuel stores to become
exhausted by as much as 60 minutes. This all important vitamin contributes to a normal energy-yielding metabolism
which helps to reduce the perception of fatigue and helps to keep you going for longer.
Recover and Replenish
Make sure you get in your post workout meal within 30 minutes of finishing your session. If you wait
any longer to refuel, for example two hours, it could mean your recovery rate lowers by up to 50%.
This means you’ll feel weak and exhausted for much longer than if you’d loaded up on the right
nutrients at the right time. Refuel your body immediately with a meal consisting of simple
carbohydrates to get that spike of glucose required by your muscles. Follow up with a protein and
complex carbohydrate filled meal to help regulate your blood sugar following the glucose spike.
To further support your body’s speedy recovery make sure you’re getting your portion of branch-
chained amino acids (BCAAs) such as L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. These amino acids
are essential for protein synthesis while also preventing protein breakdown which will help to
support your muscles and encourage the growth of muscle mass.
Hydration is just as important post workout as it is pre and during. Not only does remaining
hydrated make sure you are replacing all of the fluids that you lost during your workout, it also
helps your body to digest vital nutrients, repair muscles damaged during your workout and speed
up the time it takes for your heart rate to recover.