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What should I eat and drink before

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel during exercise. A diet high in carbohydrate-rich foods such as whole grain products, vegetables, fruits and legumes, can help you exercise longer and faster.
 
What you eat before, during and after an endurance exercise can also impact your performance and recovery.

Before exercise


The size and timing of a meal or snack before an intense workout depends on your individual needs. The longer the time between eating and activity the more you might be able to eat.
 
Approximately 2 – 4 hours before an endurance event,drink plenty of fluids and try to eat a meal high in carbohydrates (e.g. grain products, fruits and vegetables), relatively low in protein (small servings of choices such as chicken, beans, or hummus), and fibre and low in fat.This may help to:

·         boost energy levels

·         prevent hunger

·         keep you hydrated

·         extend your time to exhaustion

Some people experience an upset stomach if they eat a meal before endurance activity. A liquid snack such as a sports drink or smoothie is a good alternative.
 
Carbohydrate-rich snack examples include some sport bars, fruit, cereal with milk, lentils, bagels, pasta, yogurt, and homemade granola bars.
 
"Carbohydrate-loading" (for competitive activities that last longer than 90 minutes) has been found to build extra carbohydrate energy stores in the body (as muscle and liver glycogen). However, it may not offer additional benefits to performance if you follow a high-carbohydrate diet or eat a carbohydrate rich snack before and/or during exercise.

During Exercise

 
During intense exercise that lasts longer than one hour, eating carbohydrate might help extend time to exhaustion and may improve performance in some activities such as sprints and agility drills.
 
Approximately 30 – 70 g of carbohydrates per hour (such as in the form of a sports drink), in small amounts every 15 to 20 minutes, can improve exercise performance.

For activities lasting longer than an hour or in extreme heat, sports drinks provide hydration as well as carbohydrate.
 
It is important that you drink enough during and after exercise to replace the fluid you lose in sweat.
 
To find out how much you typically sweat during training or competition weigh yourself before and after exercise. Factor in how much you drank. The difference will be sweat losses.

After exercise


Once your activity is finished, your body is ready to store energy again, repair muscles and fill up with fluids.Carbohydrate eaten within 30 minutes of exercise and again every two hours for four to six hours will replenish glycogen stores. Meals or snacks should also contain protein for building and repairing muscle and fluids for rehydrating.
 
Immediately after endurance exercise, good choices would be a smoothie (blend milk, fruit and ice together), sport drink, chocolate milk and water. Soon after exercise choose a meal or snack rich in carbohydrate and protein. For example:

·         chicken or fish with brown rice and tender-crisp steamed vegetables

·         pasta and meat sauce with a leafy green salad

·         vegetarian chili with a whole grain roll

It's great to have exercise goals and challenges, especially with endurance activities. Well-planned healthy eating before, during and after your long exercise events can help make your experience even more enjoyable!

 

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