Whether you’re involved in strength, endurance or skill based training, how you fuel your body around training, will ultimately affect your performance and recovery.
Before we delve into the importance of nutrition around training, it’s important to note, that this is only one piece of the puzzle. You must first analyse the entirety of your diet, taking into consideration, daily and weekly energy requirements to ensure they are sufficient to meet the expectations of your training, recovery, performance and body composition goals. There is no point focusing solely on fueling around training, if your daily calorie intake is below that recommended to meet your goals. Therefore, this article is intended to add to an already well rounded diet.
Firstly, you must consider the intensity of the exercise you’re about to perform (i.e. high, moderate or low intensity). You must then consider the duration of the exercise bout i.e 30 minutes, 1 hour or more. The duration and intensity will ultimately determine the type and amount of fuel you will require.
During low intensity exercise, our bodies rely on fat for fuel. However, as the exercise intensity increases, carbohydrates become the predominant fuel source. So, this means we should only perform low intensity right? Absolutely not, high intensity exercise has been shown to elicit fat oxidation for up to 48 hours after the exercise bout, plus, has been shown to increase fitness levels by up to (……% more than endurance training).
Fuel before training:
When performing high intensity exercise, there’s an increased reliance on carbohydrates, so by increasing your intake of carbohydrates, exercise performance is enhanced. Research has shown that carbohydrate intakes of ~30% of total daily carbohydrate intakes is optimal, however this will vary depending on the duration, intensity and type of exercise being performed.
When performing low intensity exercise, research has shown that lower carbohydrate availability can augment training adaptations and can result in increases in fat oxidation (fat burning). Therefore, it’s suggested to perform low intensity exercise in the fasted state to optimize these adaptations and metabolic responses to such training protocols.
Protein intakes should be approx. 20 g before and after training. This is to ensure muscle growth and recovery and to prevent muscle breakdown.