The hardest part is often just getting off the couch to go and train but is there anything that can make it easier to get out there and to stick it out once you do get going?
Fueling your body in the right way means you have the energy you need to get going, the hydration needed to help avoid fatigue and the protein you need to help recover ready for the next session.
What do you need before you train?
1. Main Meal.
Although you can train on an empty stomach, it is a lot harder to keep going. You are more likely to give up or miss your targets for that session. In saying that, it is best to have around 2 hours between a main meal and a training session. A light, low fat breakfast 30-60 minutes before training will be okay for most people. Avoid very high fat foods as they can take up to 4 hours to leave your stomach. Lower fat foods will move through faster and so you are less likely to get cramps or abdominal discomfort.
2. Pre-Training Snack
Eat about 30 minutes before training. Include some carbs and a little protein here: Try a slice of wholegrain bread with a little nut butter, a piece of fruit and some Greek Yoghurt, tuna with crackers, rice cakes with a little cheese or a hard-boiled egg.
Nothing slows you down like being dehydrated. It is the quick route to fatigue and to giving up and going home earlier. Not only does overall performance improve with good hydration but you actually enjoy your training session more. Try to stay hydrated by getting at least 2 litres of water in everyday – even on days you don’t train. Then, drink about 300-500mls of water about 1 hour before training and the same again about 30 minutes before you go. Remember to top up your water every 15-20 minutes while you train.
**Post Training Tip: Remember to get the best from your training session by adding in some protein and some carbs really soon after finishing. There is a 30 minute window where your body will really store up fuel and enhance muscle building if you supply the right nutrients. Protein is a key nutrient here so aim to have a protein snack soon after finishing. You can go for the protein shake but a hard boiled egg, some tuna or a handful of nuts will give you protein as well as a range of other valuable nutrients. Add a carb with some crackers, a slice of bread or some fruit.
Now you are prepared and ready to go again tomorrow…
Sarah Keogh in association with John West
Consultant Nutritionist - MSc., BSc., MINDI
Sarah has a degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Trinity College and a Masters in European Food Regulation.
She runs a food and nutrition consultancy giving one-to-one advice on nutrition and diet as well as working with some of Ireland's leading food companies.