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Advantages of proper nutrition and hydration for Athletes before, during and after a workout:
Nutrition and hydration before the workout
Nutrition: The purpose of the pre-game meal is to provide an easily digested source of energy to be focused during the workout and prevent being distracted by hunger. As a general rule, you want to focus more on carbohydrate-rich foods and less on protein as you get closer to your workout to avoid feeling uncomfortable, stomach cramps, or moving with legs that feel sluggish. Carbohydrate-rich foods include bread, cereal, rice, pasta, fruit, and dairy products. Here are examples of pre-workout meals and snacks:
|Time before the game||What||Example|
|3-4 hours||Regular, full balanced meal
Moderate to high in carbohydrates and moderate protein
|2 cups pasta topped with ¾ cup tomato sauce and 4 lean (3oz) meatballs|
|2-3 hours||Smaller meal
High in carbohydrates and moderate protein
|Tuna sandwich with vegetables and a fruit|
Very high in carbohydrates and low in protein
|1 ½ cup lower fibre breakfast cereal with ½ cup reduced fat milk (skim, 1% or 2%) and a fruit|
|Less than 1 hour||Small snack
|1 fruit or 1 cup fruit and milk smoothie|
Hydration: Drinking before a workout prevents dehydration during a workout caused by the sweating under your gear. As a rule of thumb try to consume 500-1000 ml (2-4 cups) of water within the 2 hours preceding a workout.
Nutrition and hydration during the workout
Nutrition: Foods eaten during a workout need to be digested easily while offering enough energy to fuel your muscles, brain and nervous system. This means you need to choose carbohydrate-rich foods that are low in protein, fibre and fat. It is recommended to consume 30-60 g of carbohydrates per hour of exercises. This can be achieved by consuming fruit, sports bars and drinks, diluted fruit juice, granola bars, cold cereal, pretzels, or crackers, all of which can be easily packed in your gym bag.
Hydration: Dehydration can impair mental and physical performance. Most athletes will need 400 to 800 ml of liquids for every hour of exercise to account for fluids lost with sweat; this is easily be reached by taking 4 large sips of water or sports drink every 20 minutes. Do not use thirst to dictate when you should drink as we don’t perceive it as well during a workout.
Nutrition and hydration after the workout
Nutrition: Your priority here is to replenish your energy stores and repair any muscle and tissue damage. After your workout, it is important to eat a meal or snack within 30 minutes of your workout and again 1-2 hours after that. All meals and snacks should contain carbohydrates to protein. Some post-workout meals and snacks include:
Hydration: Don’t forget to drink regularly, even if your training session is done. Good hydration ensures you stay focused throughout the day.