How nutrition and diet can support your workouts

Whether you’re working out to gain muscle, shed a few pounds or to get moving, all exercise uses up energy and burns calories. Certain types of foods and diets can help support different outcomes when it comes to training. 

Perhaps the most well-known and common form of nutrition used to support muscle growth and recovery are protein shakes. But, these drinks aren’t always straightforward.  Be sure to do your research when it comes to what sort of protein you should be consuming. And remember, protein shakes should never be swapped in as a replacement for real food. They’re designed to supplement and enhance your current diet. 

Below are some tips on how you can optimize your diet and nutrition to support your training:

Increase your protein from natural sources

While protein shakes are useful after working out for helping support recovery and muscle growth, there are other forms of protein from natural sources that can be just as helpful. Foods such as chicken, turkey, fish and eggs are known for being high-quality protein sources that can also help you feel fuller for longer. Even more unassuming things such as peanuts, brussel sprouts and lentils are plentiful in protein too.

It’s not just about the shakes

How about switching it up and using your protein powder in other foods? Recipes such as protein oatmeal and banana bread are a great way to change things up and still boost your protein intake. These sorts of foods can also help satisfy your appetite and prevent snacking.

Time is of the essence

Your body is only able to absorb a certain amount of protein and nutrients at one time – only really just over an ounce. So, while it might be tempting to go large on protein and vegetables right after a workout, as with so many things, it is all about moderation. A University of Texas study found that a moderate amount of high-quality protein 3 times a day provides a more effective means of stimulating 24-hour muscle development than skewing protein intake toward the evening meal. So, the lesson is, don’t just cram all your nutrients into one meal!

Carbs aren’t evil

One of the most common misconceptions is that carbs aren’t good for you when you’re trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle. But that’s not true. The right type of carbs (especially naturally occurring sources such as rice or potatoes) are the most important form of fuel for exercise. The British Nutrition Foundation suggests around a third of what we eat should be made up of starchy foods. Not only do they provide you with energy, but also essential fibre. Just remember, processed foods such as white bread or cookies don’t have the same sort of nutritional value and can be full of sugar – where possible, go for natural carbs and wholegrain or wholemeal options. 

If you’d like to speak with someone or get advice on the best nutrition and diet for you, reach out to our in-house roster of coaches and trainers for advice.

Article by Olivia Hows, journalist/digital content creator