Eating to fuel training and optimal recovery doesn’t just mean eating well immediately before or after training – it’s about eating well at every meal!
The food we eat doesn’t just give us energy to train, it nourishes us and provides our body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and grow stronger.
The two areas to focus on are Quality and Structure:
- Food Quality: Choose foods that have been minimally processed and eat a wide variety of foods to maximise your nutrient intake
- Structure: Eating around exercise is important to fuel training and recover quickly. Make sure you have a snack after training and schedule your biggest meal of the day after your biggest training session.
Here’s an example of a good meal structure based on a double-training day and school:
|Breakfast||Keep it low sugar and don’t forget to hydrate before training This meal will fuel your morning training|
|Morning Training||Water or no-added sugar diluting juice is fine during training|
|Post-Training Snack||Consider this to be a 2nd breakfast and should be practical and nutritious This snack will help you recover for your afternoon session|
|School Snack||Go for something relatively high in fibre like fruit or a cereal bar with minimal ingredients This snack maintains the recovery process and prevents you from feeling too hungry by lunch|
|Lunch||Lunch should contain a source of protein (e.g. chicken, beef, fish, cheese…), two portions of veggies and 1-2 servings of a high fibre carbohydrate (e.g. granary bread, wholemeal wrap, wholemeal pitta, brown rice…)|
|Pre-Training Snack||Carbohydrate is the priority here so fresh or dried fruit or a small sandwich are ideal The carbohydrates in this snack will help ensure you are suitably fuelled for the session|
|Afternoon Training||Water or no-added sugar diluting juice is fine during training|
|Post-Training Snack||Start your recovery from a hard set with fluids, carbohydrates and proteins Make sure this snack is practical and ready to eat in your kit bag|
|Evening Meal||Protein, carbs and veggies – this should be your biggest meal of the day Don’t ignore the protein content of this meal – it will help your muscles adapt overnight|
|Pre-Bed Snack||Dairy and fruit are ideal at this time e.g. Greek yoghurt with berries or pint of milk and banana This snack should promote recovery and adaptation overnight and aid restful sleep|