Nutrition Tips

Eating And Drinking For Sports

Getting the best performance out of your body means you have to take great care of it and make sure you, the athlete can produce a jaw-dropping performance when needed.

More Exercise, More Food

As a sportsperson, you are probably training almost every day, this advice on nutrition is for you. Your energy levels have to be kept up, and your target weight maintained so a healthy balanced diet is needed.

More carbohydrate rich foods are needed when you are training every day, so food such as bread, rice, cereals, rice, potatoes and pasta are ideal.

Try to eat more of the wholegrain varieties when you can. Don't forget to include essential fats from foods such  as oily fish, nuts and seeds and protein-rich foods to help repair and build your muscles.

Carbs And Protein

Carbs are the fuel for your muscles but your body only stores small amounts at a time. Carbs are stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver and when the levels get low there is an increased risk of injuries as well as a drop in your performance, so make sure you have a top up source available during workouts.

Protein helps the muscles grow and repair and is available in foods such as meat, fish, dairy products and eggs, again, you will need to have a source available to top up if you are on a long training day.

From Food To Exercise

The experts recommend that if you eat a main meal then you should allow 2 to 3 hours between finishing the meal and working out. Snacks should be rich in carbohydrates, low in fat and moderate in protein as too much fat or protein can slow you down and cause stomach discomfort. Snacks should be taken an hour before exercise.

Drinking while Exercising

Keeping well hydrated is really important in any high instance where there is high-intensity physical activity. Dehydration can seriously affect our performance so regular drinks are needed. The rule is the more you sweat, the more you need to drink, this isn't just about work, it's about environmental conditions and length of activity as well. If  your sport lasts more than an hour then swap the water for a drink containing carbohydrates and electrolytes for better performance.

Different Goals, Different Diets

One athlete's goal is to gain muscle mass, another wants to lose weight.

Diets are pretty specific to the person's individual targets, losing weight means less fat, less alcohol, less sugary food and drinks and more meals of small proportions that are rich in complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread, rice etc.

You may want to lose weight but not the muscle mass so keep the protein intake up to avoid losing that.

For the muscle building athlete, you will need strength training with a diet rich in carbs and protein as well as the essential fat given by oily fish, seeds and nuts. Carbs are your fuel, protein your muscle builders, plan your diets and stick to them to maximise your results.

Food for Recovery

Food and drink also plays a vital role in recovery. Good recovery is important so you don't lose your energy halfway through the week and to help muscle growth and repair. For pro-athletes who are training more than once a day, and have less than eight hours from the end of one workout to the beginning of the next, then ideally have carbohydrate and protein filled food or drink within about half an hour to an hour of completing the initial session. For those with more time to recover then eating as soon possible is perfect.

There are of course supplements available to help you reach goals and provide may of the nutritional needs to compliment your normal healthy diet. If you have any concerns or questions please feel free to contact us.

Eating For Your Immune System

Nowadays we are all too quick to rush to the doctors whenever a virus comes near us but we can fight them off with nature's own medicine store.

What We Need The Most

Protein

Not enough protein can reduce the function of your T cells that are responsible for seeking and destroying cells that have become infected with a virus.

Vitamin E

This vital vitamin is a natural antioxidant that helps reduce the damage to cells caused by oxidation. Some issues that oxidative stress can cause have been linked to include neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, gene mutations and cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, fragile X syndrome, heart and blood vessel disorders, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attack and inflammatory diseases.

Zinc and Selenium

These minerals help T cells do their job.

Vitamin A

The mucus layer in your respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts stand between you and infections. Vitamin A helps keep that layer strong and avoid infections getting through.

Fatty Acids

As your immune system mobilises to fight a virus or infection, your body will increase inflammation in the affected area to give assistance. Inflammation-lowering fatty acids keep the inflammatory response in check so as not to damage healthy cells.

Vitamin C

Helps to build antibodies and cells to attack viruses and bacteria.

Vitamin D

No-one knows what role Vitamin D plays in immunity, but research suggests that not having enough can make you more likely to contract viruses. Better safe than sorry so make sure you are getting enough.

Probiotics

Having a healthy gut maintains a strong defence against germs. A recent study found that workers taking a daily probiotic supplement took off  33 percent fewer sick days over an 80-day period than their workmates who were given a placebo.

Foods For the Immune System

There are many many natural foods that contain all the right things our bodies need to fight illness and make us feel generally healthier. Here are a few of the more common ones.

Vitamin A

The highest concentration of vitamin A is found in sweet potatoes, Beef liver, spinach, fish, milk, eggs, and carrots also are good sources.

Vitamin C

Sweet red peppers actually contain more of the vitamin than any other food

but kiwifruit, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe are also good.

Vitamin E

Wheat germ oil packs more vitamin E than any other food source

Vitamin D

Fatty fishes are among the few naturally occurring dietary sources of vitamin D but Cod liver oil is the best.

Fatty Acids

ALA is found in plant sources such as vegetable oil, green vegetables, nuts, and seeds

DHA the second category are found in fatty fish such as Tuna.

Vitamin E

Wheat germ oil  is the highest provider of vitamin E but other sources include sunflower seeds and almonds

Protein, zinc and selenium

Oysters

Zinc and selenium

Mushrooms

Protein, vitamin A, and probiotics

Yoghurt

For more help or advice please feel free to contact us.

Building Muscle - Tips For Success

There is no easy way to suddenly become a hulk of muscle, it takes time, planning, a healthy diet and a regime which needs to be stuck to. The aim of this article is to give you some proven methods to start building muscle.

Setting Realistic Goals

The ultimate goal may be to gain muscle mass but to get there it's important to gain strength. The bodies ability to recruit muscle fibres is the key to looking more muscular. To see your goals met, lift more weight and increase the reps, then you will need to get your muscles in the best condition to respond to the workout demands. Decide on 2 or 3 exercises that target the upper body, 1 push and 1 pull, and 1 that targets the lower body, and start getting those muscles stronger.

Eat Right

Working out alone will not make muscles bigger and stronger, they need fuel to enable the transformation and that means eating the right foods and taking the best supplements where needed. As muscles require calories it's a good idea to record what you are currently eating, and try to keep track of the calorific intake. If your progress is slow then adding more calories throughout the day will help.

Eating Right Never Stops

Even on your "rest days" away from the weights, you should make sure you eat right. Your muscles are recovering and growing on these days and will need the calories you are eating to enable them to repair and grow, You may not need the same as when you workout but drop by a little only if you want to see results.

Carbs Are Not The Enemy

If your primary goal is to lose weight then yes, lose the carbs and look into a carb-free diet to achieve your goal. If, however, the goal is to gain muscle then you should not be worried about the weight you may gain. Your muscles will need those calories to get big, just don't go overboard. You are keeping a diary on foods you are eating, right? Keep a track and make adjustments to diet based on your results,

Nutritional Shakes

Gaining muscle depends on getting enough calories, The best way of making sure you give your body a healthy amount of carbs and calories before, and after your workout is with a shake. A good quality shake will supply the nutrition you need to work harder and keep your energy levels up.

Manage your Workouts

Unless you are a professional athlete, the chances are you have a full-time job and other commitments that take time from your life to complete. A pro may work each body part once a week but you may have to organise your workouts so that each workout targets a specific group, or even the entire body in each gym session. At least doing this you will work each muscle group 3 times a week if you workout 3 times. If 4 times a week can be afforded then twice upper, twice lower etc. The more you can work out the quicker those muscles will grow but life isn't always like that, do what you can, when you can, but do it right.

Compound Exercises

Deadlifts, the press, rowing and chin-ups are all compound exercises. ie: they work more that one joint at a time. These types of exercise are ideal for building muscle mass quickly as they work more muscle, which in turn releases more testosterone which is the hormone used to promote the growth of muscles. The rule for quicker growth is compound work first, isolations such as curls and leg extensions second.

Legs, Legs, Legs

A lot of men want to work towards bigger arms and chest but don't forget the legs. Nothing looks stranger than a man with an out of proportion body. Use compound leg exercises to maintain the balance, these legs workouts use the whole of the body and still release the hormones to increase muscle growth so are highly beneficial in achieving your overall look.

Recovery Is Vital

There are nutritional supplements available that can help your body to recover from a hard session at the gym but nature also provides her own recovery system. Simply going to bed a little earlier can be a tremendous benefit to the recovery process.

The Weekly Weigh-In

One to put on your calendar, once a week, same day, same time, after the morning bathroom routine but before breakfast. Get on the scales and hope the results shows you have gained weight. Muscle is heavier than fat so it's a good thing to get heavier, if you are losing weight then you are not gaining muscle and its time to revisit the diet and exercise routines to see where changes can be made.

For more help or advice please feel free to contact us.