- NUTRITIONAL WELLNESS
- KNOW YOUR SERVING
- BODY SMART
- MEAL PLANNING
- TIPS & TRICKS
- UNDERSTANDING FOOD LABELS
Which nutrients give endurance athletes and bodybuilders greater strength? And what should they take into consideration when choosing what to drink? We have put together 5 tips for you on the topic of sports nutrition. Be your best with a varied, balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Endurance athletes: fill your energy reserves
Before doing endurance sports, you should fill your body’s energy reserves – particularly your carbohydrate stores. Pasta, bread, cereals, rice, potatoes and fruit are examples of foods which are high in carbohydrates. Eat another large meal around three hours before the sporting activity. Choose carbohydrate-rich and easily digestible meals, such as pasta with a light tomato sauce. Up to an hour before the sporting activity you can eat a small snack, such as sliced fruit or an apple with low acid content, for a final burst of energy.
During sporting activities, it can help to eat small snacks containing minerals and carbohydrates, such as a banana or a PowerBar with plenty of fluids. After doing sport, it is important to rebalance your depleted energy reserves. For quick regeneration, your body needs carbohydrates and protein after physical activity. This could be a roll with low-fat ham, or a portion of yoghurt with cereal.
Before training, why not try Florentine-style spaghetti Napoli – simply delicious, and containing high levels of valuable carbohydrates.
Leisure bodybuilders: how much protein do you need?
Protein is the central nutrient for building muscle in bodybuilding. The amount of protein required for this has, however, been overestimated for many years. For amateur and recreational sports enthusiasts, special additional recommendations are not necessary, as the required amount can be covered by your daily diet. Try to eat protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs, soya products, pulses and nuts.
How much carbohydrate, protein and calories do you need daily? Find out your individual calorie and nutrient requirements with the help of our Nutritional Calculator.
Drinks – more than fluid!
Sport and exercise make your body sweat. This is a good thing, as sweating is an important mechanism to regulate the body’s temperature. As even slight losses of fluid (2% of the body’s weight) can lead to a decline in performance, it is important to drink enough fluids before you even start training. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. The body does not usually show it is thirsty until it is already dehydrated. You should therefore drink 1.5-2 litres throughout the day, at regular intervals. During sports activities, you should drink around 150-200 ml every 15 minutes. Ideally, you should drink still mineral water or diluted fruit juice made up of 1/3 juice, 2/3 water.
When you sweat you not only lose water but also the minerals dissolved in this water. Isotonic sports drinks can help to rebalance this loss. The isotonic drink powder from PowerBar, for example, provides all of the five main minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chloride) that are lost during sweating.
More muscle for less weight
A lot of people do sport to stay fit. This is a good thing. Regular physical movement encourages the development of muscles. In principle, increasing muscle is beneficial, as the amount of muscle determines, to a great extent, your basal metabolic rate. Increased muscle mass increases the amount of energy used by the body, even if you are not actually being active. This effect will not only aid weight loss, but will also help to maintain your body weight in the long term.
Would you like to know how many calories you burn doing specific activities? Use our Calorie Burn Calculator to find out.
Dietary supplements: useful or unnecessary?
Dietary supplements contain vitamins, minerals and trace elements, sometimes in large quantities. They are available as tablets, capsules or powder. In some cases, high doses of some nutrients are still recommended to increase performance, for example vitamins C and E, in accordance with the motto: the more the better. However, it has not yet been possible to prove whether these doses have a significant effect. An overdose can do more harm than good. For example, consuming too much zinc can affect the immune system. Dietary supplements should only be used to balance out deficiency symptoms – ideally you should first discuss this with your doctor.
If you do a lot of sport, one thing is particularly important: make sure you have a balanced and varied diet. Take advantage of the variety of foods available and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, for example. The 5-a-day campaign recommends eating three portions of vegetables (400 grams) and two portions of fruit (250 grams) every day. The amount of other food types you should eat is shown in the Nutritional Pyramid. Special sports nutrition products can be useful for ambitious athletes.