Fitness and Nutrition 101

Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand which may seem like a no brainer but its essential that we eat well to be to perform well, have enough energy and repair our muscle tissue.

Here are some key topics to get you started: Carbs: Carbohydrates are fuel for exercise. They are stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles and must be restocked every day. Liver glycogen helps maintains steady blood sugar. The more active your are the more muscle you have and therefore the more carbs you need.

Protein: Amino acids from proteins form building blocks for new tissue and repair body cells. They are used for making enzymes, hormones and antibodies. Protein provide small fuel source for exercise BUT are needed for muscle breakdown resulting from intense exercise.

Protein & Carbs: Combining proteins and carbs has shown to been effective in promoting glycogen recovery than carbohydrates alone. This mix stimulates greater output of insulin which speeds up uptake of glucose and amino acids from bloodstream and muscle cells 15-25 grams protein with carbs enhance recovery and promote muscle building.

Fat: Fat makes up the structure of all membranes, brain tissue, bone marrow, cushions organs and helps absorb fat soluble vitamins. They also help fuel exercise and omega-3 fatty acids help deliver oxygen to muscles.

Energy: The failure to consume enough energy can result in muscle loss, slower recovery, decreased performance, increased fatigue and more prone to injury and illness

Hydration: Being dehydrated can result in less strength and endurance.

Vitamins and Minerals: Its important to be aware of calcium, iron and vitamin D levels, which are commonly low in female athletes.

Pre-competition Diet (90 minute +): Need to maximize muscle glycogen stores and make sure you are well hydrated. Small frequent meals are recommended and avoiding unfamiliar foods. The capacity for endurance exercise is related to pre-exercise glycogen stores.

Vegetarian Diets: To ensure you are getting all the essential amino acids, its important to practice protein combining. This means combining 2 or more of the following food categories:

1.Pulses: lentils, beans, peas

2.Grains: rice, corn, oats, pasta

3.Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed

4.Soy products: soy milk, tofu.

Key nutrients for athletes

Vitamin E – Prevents oxidation of fatty-acids in cell membrane and protects against cell damage

Vitamin C – required for formation of connective tissue and certain hormones (adrenaline) produced during exercise. Also for the formation of red blood cells which enhances iron absorption. Vitamin C also protects against cell damage.

B Vitamins – B1, B2, B3, are involved in releasing energy from food. B6 is involved in protein and amino acid metabolism and is also needed for making red blood cells and new proteins. B5 has the ability to prevent buildup of lactic acid during exercise. Folic acid and B12 are involved in red blood cell production in bone marrow, needed for cell division in protein and DNA manufacturing.

Beta-carotene – not a vitamin but acts as a antioxidant and enhance antioxidant power of vitamin E

Vitamin D – maintain bone health, muscle structure, and function.

Calcium – involved in bone formation, muscle growth, muscle contraction and nerve transmission

Iron – formation of haemoglobin and myoglobin. Many muscle enzymes involved in energy metabolism require iron

This is just a start to the realm of fitness and nutrition. Stay tuned for more specific blog posts!

In good health,

xo nic Want to stay up to date on my latest blog posts, recipes and events? Sign up for my newsletter here!

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