Nutrition is one of the most important ingredients to a healthy lifestyle and vital if you want to perform at your best. Adequate fueling prior to training and racing can be the difference between an average session and an excellent one. It is also important to get some fuel into the body soon after a workout (within 30 minutes) in order to enhance recovery, minimise muscle soreness & maximise your metabolism. Examples of good pre-training foods would be yoghurt & berries, hard boiled egg or a banana, allowing 90 minutes for the food to digest. With regards to a post exercise snack, something quick and easy like a banana, chocolate milk (see recipe below) or a natural yoghurt will tie you over until you can cook a healthy & nutritious meal. Of course, it is also important to keep well hyrdated (ideally water) throughout the day as well as pre & post exercise.
It is also important to ensure that you include the right ingredients in your diet and by this I mean healthy & natural ingredients (try to avoid any added sugars, salts or chemicals). I have managed to cut out packet sauces (high in salt & sugar), ready made chocolate powder, pre-packaged bars (e.g. flapjacks) and multi-pack yoghurts all of which often contain added ingredients which the body doesn’t need.
Below is my typical day’s nutrition – for dinner, I have included all of the meals that I would have during the week along with links to recipes where applicable.
1 mug of organic green tea
Porridge – 40g of organic jumbo oats, 10g of chia seeds made with 200ml of either oat milk, rice milk or semi-skimmed milk. Once heated, stir in a teaspoon of organic peanut butter.
2x free range eggs, scrambled with 50g of organic closed cup mushrooms (fried) & 20g of emmental cheese.
1 glass of chocolate milk – made with homemade chocolate syrup (recipe here) and semi-skimmed.
Mid morning snacks
1 square of organic dark chocolate
20g of almonds
20g of pistachios
Tuna wrap – made with 160g of tinned tuna, 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise and a couple of leaves of organic lettuce
1 x organic, pink-lady apple
70g of red, seedless grapes
Slices of cucumber on ryvita
Mid afternoon snacks
Home-made healthy flapjack (no added sugars and made with mostly organic ingrediants) – recipe here.
Salmon fillet (steamed) with 80g of brown rice (steamed) and 150g of fresh vegetables (steamed) – twice per week
Vegetarian burger either with 80g of brown rice (steamed) and 100g of stir-fry vegetables; or with 80g of wholewheat organic pasta in a homemade pasta sauce (recipe here) with 100g of fresh vegetables (steamed)
One half of Sainsbury’s Mozzarella & Cherry Tomato Pizza, Taste the Difference 490g
Vegetarian spaghetti bolognese (recipe here) with 80g of wholewheat, organic spaghetti & organic carrots
Fish, rustic skin-on fries and frozen peas
Occasional takeaway of fish and chips
100g of Natural set yoghurt with 10g of dessicated coconut stirred in
1 mug of organic green or organic red bush tea
40g bowl of organic muesli with whole milk
Evening recovery drink (usually the evening after a long run)
1 mug of whole milk (heated) with 12g of hydrolyzed collagen (pure unflavoured protein) & 1 teaspoon of raw Manuka honey stirred in.
Conclusion: Ensure that you fuel your body sufficiently before exercising (you wouldn’t think to drive your car without fuel, would you?) and be sure to re-fuel your body post-exercise (think of a fire burning out – it needs coal in order to keep going). If you can take as much control of what goes into your body then you are on the right path.