What to eat during training

You’re halfway through your training session and are starting to feel light headed, fatigued and its getting difficult to move your muscles. You’re considering calling it in early because you’ve got training on again tomorrow morning and need to be ready.

 

This is a common scenario amongst my clients and I have definitely felt it myself too! Nutrition during training has been found to prolong the time it takes for fatigue to set in meaning that you can work harder for longer. It also improves recovery so that you are fresh for your next session.

 

So what should you eat during your sessions?

 

Hydration

You need to stay hydrated. Your blood carries oxygen and nutrients to your brain and working muscles. Dehydration causes your blood to thicken and deprive your muscles of the nutrients it needs to perform or train hard.

 

Water is generally all you need. In some cases, on hot days and during long training sessions, sports drinks or electrolyte drinks can be helpful.

 

Gatorade for during training

 

Sports drinks and coconut water

Sports drinks provide some added electrolytes to aid absorption but work largely on the principle that they taste good so you’ll drink more. They also contain sugars which can be a helpful way to get some carbs in during your session (more on that soon!). Similarly, coconut water contains some electrolytes but not in the specific ratios needed to make a big impact on absorption. It does, however, taste amazing so you’ll probably drink more of it.

Triathlete

Electrolytes

Elecrolyte drinks (ie Hydralyte) contain a specific and calculated amount of electrolytes to enhance water absorption through your small intestine (it’s usually only absorbed in your large intestine). These are most effective in extreme conditions, however, for the majority of the time, plain water will be adequate.

 

Carbohydrates

Carbs are your working muscle’s favourite source of energy. We do store carbs as glycogen in both liver and muscles. Your pretraining meal will help to top up your circulating glucose stores, however, in once your carbohydrate stores are used up, your body needs to use less efficient means of creating energy such as breaking down fats or proteins meaning that you can’t train as hard or it all just begins to hurt more!

 

As mentioned in Part 1 on how to fuel before session, evidence supports ingestion of 30-70g of carbs per hour of training. It might be worth topping up if you are working hard for a long period of time. If you’re topping up on the go you are going to want something that is processed quickly in your gut and won’t leave you feeling sick.

 

Try these little ideas:

During training foods

 

Summary

You can alter your body’s response to training by providing adequate fuels and building blocks in the form of carbohydrate and BCAA’s. Dose and necessity will depend on the individual, the mode of training, intensity and training goals. It is best to talk to an accredited dietitian for individualised advice.

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