A lot of thought – and column inches – goes into advising athletes on their dietary requirements leading up to events, competitions and games. Not so much emphasis is placed on recovery.
While complete rest and a good night’s sleep are key to letting the body recover after the exertions of exercise, consuming the right food is also vital to speeding up the process and ensuring your muscles get the nutrients they need for repair.
You’ve put in a shift, and felt the burn – here’s what you should be eating to get yourself back to peak condition:
- Water – it goes without saying that rehydration is absolutely vital in the lead-up to competing, during your performance and also, afterwards too. Drinking water helps with muscle soreness and replaces lost fluids. Soups are a great way to hydrate while cramming in nutrient-packed vegetables with some lean meat (or fish) to get your protein quota.
- Research suggests that you should be squeezing some sour cherries into your post-workout diet. These superfoods, sometimes called ‘tart cherries’ have anti-inflammatory properties that help with muscle fatigue; even better, sour cherries boost melatonin, the sleep hormone, meaning you’ll sleep better too.
- Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and cod contain OMEGA-3, which is also another food that helps with muscle strain and fatigue, and is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Eggs with everything – an essential source of protein, eggs also have amino acids that help muscle repair and building.
- Almonds are another good fat source, containing OMEGA-6 fats, and eaten as part of your dietary plan not only help to relieve muscle repair but also if regularly eaten help to stave off more chronic muscle soreness. Walnuts and Brazil nuts are also rich in magnesium and zinc, which need to be replaced in your post-performance in-take.
- Ginger and Turmeric – both are considered to be superfoods in that they are excellent for the blood and help counter muscle soreness, with their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Sweet potatoes – containing heaps of beta-carotene, which helps the body make vitamin A, sweet potatoes are versatile, tasty and go a long way to help keep your body’s immune system strong.
- Pineapple has anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing qualities – considered to be an essential food for those suffering from bruising, swelling and soreness.
- Bananas – high in potassium and with all the right kind of sugars to give you an energy boost after your performance, bananas are a must-have on your post-performance menu.
- Sunflower, Pumpkin and Chia seeds are all packed with magnesium, zinc and fibre to keep your blood healthy, fight muscle cramping and help your gut functioning. If you’re not incorporating these into your diet, now is the time to start.
Making the sacrifices to get in shape, hit the gym and hone your sporting prowess is tough enough but what separates elite athletes from their amateur counterparts is how they look after themselves in the kitchen.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to eating for performance: the only general rule is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and cut out processed food, such as white bread, white rice and refined sugars.
The needs of footballers, rugby players, cyclists or bodybuilders are completely different. Having said that, rugby players and bodybuilders will be looking to maximize bulk and body mass; while footballers and cyclists need to compliment their protein intake with a build-up of carbs nearer to competitions and match days.
Regardless of which sport you play, there are some nutrients that are essential for improving performance – namely, iron, to boost the blood’s oxygen supply: spinach and broccoli, as well as seafood and beans all have high iron content. In order for your body to absorb all of that iron goodness, you’ll also need to have a decent vitamin C intake – so eat your greens, but don’t forget to eat citruses, capsicum peppers and strawberries.
Carboyhdrates are essential of course – but the intake for carbs needs to be carefully managed and should be built-into the dietary plan and increase in the days leading up to competing; on the day of competition or match, large should be avoided and replaced with high energy snacks. For example, steel-cut oats, bananas and almonds all offer slow-release carbs that will help your body release energy while you perform.
Proteins and saturated fats are also vital for muscle repair and growth – chicken, fish, eggs and milk. Legumes, such as chickpeas and kidney beans are also rich sources of protein and can add further nutrition to salads. Fats also play a role in helping the body access stored carboyhdrates – known as glycogen – and ensuring your diet has enough healthy fats, from avocados, nuts, seeds and lean meat for high-intensity workouts.
Vitamins B6 and B12 are used by the body to convert proteins and sugars into energy, and any competitor taking part in high intensity exercise should seek out these in lentils, peanuts, tuna and beans.
Calcium is essential for strong bones and skeletal structure – but diary and particularly milk, while high in calcium is also full of electrolytes, which is particularly good for helping the body to recover after intense exercise by rehydrating the body. Calcium intake also helps to ward off cramp – so a must for those who run, cycle or play football. Making the sacrifices to get
in shape, hit the gym and hone your sporting prowess is tough enough but what separates elite athletes from their amateur counterparts is how they look after themselves in the kitchen.
When it comes to Moringa, the list of benefits goes on and on. Obviously it would be wonderful if everyone would benefit from taking Moringa supplements, but it’s understandable with so many supplements on the market to be a little sceptical.
With Moringa, it’s not just any old salesman that’s telling you all the good stuff it can do, but athletes who take the supplements themselves. These guys have to be at peak fitness and not being there can affect their careers in sport. By taking Moringa they are helping themselves improve and stay in physical, sporting perfection.
- Evander Holyfield
The American four time world heavyweight champion is a serious athlete even in retirement. The boxer is known worldwide and admired by athletes as someone who works hard for the fitness level he has. Evander has gone on to say that using Moringa has enabled him to ‘power through workouts’ better and recover from extreme exercise faster.
- Manny Pacpuiao
Another professional boxer Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao has been quoted saying that Moringa is his secret weapon when it comes to strength. His trainer has laughed away accusations of steroid use, saying that it is malunggay leaves as part of a balanced diet that keeps the athlete on top form. You don’t get named Fighter of the Decade on any old supplements.
- Alister DreamWilder
The International Extreme Ultra Sky Runner needs strength for the cliffs, mountains and coastlines he runs across. Not to mention the tens of marathons he’s ran during his career as an athlete. Alister has repeatedly tweeted his love for Moringa products and has even been a brand ambassador for Moringa across many platforms.
- Brian Warren
The MMA Champion, also known as ‘Mr Unbreakable’ has used Moringa products to his advantage in training saying that, there is ‘no better natural supplement in the world’. Hardly someone to argue with.
- Tony Horton
If anyone has to stay in shape it’s the creator of P90X. The personal trainer and professional athlete has been adding Moringa Leaf Powder into his daily protein shakes as a way of getting Moringa into his system.
- Marcela Tribin
A FAME top athlete and Fitness Model Master Pro has used Moringa as part of pre and post workout recovery drinks and shakes. Marcela has written articles on Moringa for several respected women’s fitness magazines and online publications.
- Luke Curry
Luke Curry is the World Record Holder of 4 Bench Press Titles and is a competitive bodybuilder. He uses Moringa daily and has said that it while consuming Moringa that he was able to achieve this world record. Curry is a true fan of Moringa, having made several Youtube promoting Moringa and explaining how it has improved his fitness regime.
- Monterio Hardesty
The Cleveland Browns player has used Moringa in a bid to become healthier, using the supplement as a heath kick and calling it the ‘product of a lifetime’. The health conscious football player seems to be a big fan and has talked about wanting his whole team to try it.
- Tasha Elizinger
Tasha Elizinger was an athlete until an injury stopped her from competing. However, using Moringa alongside exercise and training, her strength improved. As both an athlete and teacher she helps others on how using Moringa products can help them.
10. Glover Teixeira
MMA Superstar and mixed martial arts expert Glover Teixeira uses Moringa as a way to ‘re-energise’ before a daily routine of extreme exercise and competing. He has promoted Moringa Tea through many platforms.
Keeping fit for the beautiful game takes more than just regular practice: it’s also about great nutrition. And that doesn’t just mean the right foods, it means the right foods at the right time; your post-match snack is going to be different to the food that you eat while training, and both of these are different to the food that you eat for stamina just before a big game.
Today, it’s that third category that we’re going to be looking at, with a rundown of the key foods that should make their way into every footballer’s pre-match diet.
It might not get your taste buds tingling, but beetroot juice is a good choice thanks to the impressive burst of energy it provides. This is thanks to the nitrates, which help your muscles in three ways: improving blood flow, helping waste removal, and speeding up fuel delivery.
Bananas, apples and citrus fruits are all powerful stamina boosters – so a fruit salad before the match is never a terrible idea. By combining all three, you get the benefit of apple’s antioxidants, banana’s carbs, fibre and fructose, and the vitamin C that’s found in citrus.
Complex carbohydrates give a slow release of energy, which makes them ideal when you need stamina that will last throughout the full length of a football match. This includes food such as nuts, seeds, oatmeal and sweet potato and brown rice. As your body digests these particularly slowly, you’ll have enough energy for practice and the game itself.
Almonds and Walnuts
Omega-3 fatty acids are a really important nutrient to get into your diet if you take part in any sport, and football is certainly no exception. While fish is one popular (and effective) choice, you can also use walnuts and almonds to get your fill.
With all of the fibre and vitamin C that they contain, any leafy green veggies are a good choice for stamina and improved performance on the pitch. However, thanks to its additional helping of vitamin K (which helps strengthen your bones), kale is definitely the champion.
Remember, building your stamina isn’t just about choosing the right foods, but also about maintaining a suitable diet. Ideally, you want as much as 70% of your diet to come in the form of carbohydrates – with at least 2400 calories coming from carbs before a game.
With a well-balanced regular diet, and a carb-heavy pre-match meal, you should see your energy and stamina levels not just build, but stay at an optimal height.
How do you stay healthy, alert and full of energy when you’re out on your bike? It all comes down to the foods that you eat: getting the right nutrients into your body can help you ensure that you have the stamina to stay out on your bike for longer and enjoy the ride more.
Today, we’ll be running through some top nutrition tips, considering how you should be fuelling your body for different types of ride.
If You’re Out for Under an Hour
When you’re only going for a quick cycling sprint, your main focus should be on water. It’s possible, though, that you’ll need a carb boost towards the end – but be careful not to overdo it. Generally, the body can only process around 60 grammes of carbs for each hour that you’re out, which handily translates to one banana.
1 Hour to 3 Hour Rides
For a medium-length ride, you want to stick with that 60 grammes per hour rule – but rather than just popping a couple of extra bananas in your pockets, looking for foods that you can graze on as you ride. This allows you to keep feeding your body a steady supply of energy, releasing it as you go.
Nuts are a great choice for this, and most professional cyclists prefer them to processed energy bars. Trail mix is an obvious choice, but it’s become popular for a reason!
Longer Trips: Over 3 Hours
General advice is, if you’re out on your bike for a while, you should aim to eat something every 30 minutes or so, without giving your body more carbs than it can handle.
This means grazing on options such as fig rolls (12g of carbs), mini pitta bread with peanut butter (18g) and sports gel (30g). If you’re going to be stopping for lunch, peanut butter and jam sandwiches are a firm favourite that will give you both the quick boost and the slow release energy that you need.
So long as you stick to the principles we’ve outlined here, you can afford to experiment a little. In fact, many cycling experts say that the most important thing is finding the energy booster that you enjoy, since it will encourage you to use a regular feeding pattern.
Whether you’re a cycling commuter, a racer, or just somebody who enjoys taking the bike out on a sunny weekend, we hope that this post helps you get more from your ride.
In the fitness world, food is fuel. Getting the balance right of what food to each at which time of day is the key to optimising your workout performance. Correct nutrition can give your body a shorter recovery, more stamina and an overall better performance, but poor nutrition can have the adverse effect. Why is this? Well quite simply because eating before a workout forces your body to choose between processing the food or converting energy into performance, and the body will always process the food above anything else; you can’t stop digestion.
Not all foods are bad for you before a workout. In fact, some high energy foods can be useful to give you the energy to burn off; exactly what you need before a cardio session. But other foods can interfere with achieving your workout potential. So which foods should you try and avoid pre-workout?
The issue with eating yoghurt or dairy products before a workout is that the protein content means it takes longer to digest than easily absorbed foods or rapidly processed foods, so if you do want to eat dairy then be sure to eat it 2 hours before a workout so that your body is not still trying to process it. Dairy products can also give you cramps, abdominal discomfort and even diarrhoea, even if you eat dairy without a problem normally.
Avocados do have a lot of health benefits, but adding avocado to a meal before a workout is a mistake because of the high fat content, which means they are very hard to digest. The same is also true for olive oil and other fatty foods such as cheeseburgers – this type of food should almost certainly be avoided before a workout.
It’s probably quite obvious that scoffing a Mars bar before a workout is going to affect your stamina and performance. All the sugars in chocolate bars may give you an initial energy boost, but this is very short lived and the peak and trough in sugar levels will cause you to crash and play havoc with your stamina.
A great food for a healthy diet and weight loss, but not a great food for your pre-workout snack. The problem lies in the fact that they are packed full of fibre, and before a workout a heavy intake of fibre will lead to bloating and flatulence, so you need to avoid consuming these or any other high-fibre foods 2 hours before and after a workout.
Nuts are a great snack and are included in most nutrition programmes to get a good amount of healthy fats into your diet. However, before a workout nuts are not a great idea due to the salt content. This sodium content can effect the fluid balance that you need for an optimum workout and cause you to become dehydrated and increase the recovery period for your muscles afterwards.
While the foods above are ok to eat generally, to achieve a great workout performance and a healthy muscle recovery afterwards it is recommended that you don’t consume them within 2 hours either side of a workout. An idea pre-workout snack would be a small protein based snack with a good carbohydrate level that is eaten a few hours before. Don’t be tempted to take a protein shake with you either, as these are best consumed post-workout to assist in muscle recovery and repair.