Everyone is aware of the benefits of exercise, but we might not be as aware of how to fuel our bodies for the exercise we do in order to get the most out of the movement. Eating properly for exercise can help lessen any inflammation caused by our workouts and also help our bodies recover after a tough session so we can get ready for the next.
Cathy Dunleavy, Derval.ie coach has broken down the food groups and delved into their impact on exercise:
- Carbohydrates: These are your body’s main fuel source of energy. Without sufficient fuel, you might be able to complete the workout but without actually getting the maximum benefit from it. It’s ok to train without eating beforehand, but if you do, I recommend putting a bigger focus on your post exercise meal. You should aim to get your carbs from whole food sources at least 80% of the time. These include fruits, veg, wholegrains.
- Protein: We know how important protein is for building muscle when we’re training. What we don’t hear much of, is how important it is for the metabolic processes that occur in our bodies. For people who don’t do much exercise, the recommended amount of protein is 0.8/kg of bodyweight. For those who do regular workouts, you should have approx 1.2 – 1.4/kg of bodyweight.
- Fats: When we exercise, we create an inflammatory response in the body as we break down muscle fibres and the body naturally goes to protect itself via an immune response. So while the benefits of moderate exercise are far reaching, it is important to allow the body to recover and provide it with the substances it needs to settle that inflammatory response back down.
You’ll cover all the bases by aiming to eat a balanced diet with lots of colours 80% of the time – especially on the days you’re doing a workout.