Whether you’re training to get fit, stay healthy or push yourself further, the right sports nutrition can help you reach your goals.
“I always used to be very much like ‘I don’t want anything artificial in me, I don’t want to take supplements, anything like that’, but I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised I need to allow these products to help me be my best – which they absolutely can do” – Vicky Holland, Olympic Triathlete.
Sports nutrition can enhance your training, make you stronger and help you enjoy your sport more. What you consume affects your sports and exercise performance – but it doesn’t need to be complicated or contain artificial and scientific sounding ingredients.
There are three key nutritional demands during sports:
- Carbohydrates to fuel your muscles
- Fluids and electrolytes to keep you hydrated
- Protein for muscle growth and repair after exercise
If you make sure you’ve got these down, you’re good to go!
Before you begin your training session, make sure you plan ahead and warm up accordingly. Having a training plan helps you structure your nutrition to keep your performance at its best. As long as you know how long you’ll be training for and what you’re doing, you can make sure you’ve taken on the required energy, hydration and recovery to sustain your performance.
When it comes to pre-training nutrition, the most important demands are energy and pre-hydration.
Your body gets energy from two main sources: fat and carbohydrates. While fat is slower to burn, it’s not made for performance like carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide quick release energy to boost your endurance performance – before you start, you need to make sure you have enough stored carbohydrate to fuel your sport.
It can be hard to fit in exercise around other commitments, but it’s generally best to wait for an hour after a meal before starting to allow your stomach to digest. If it’s been a couple of hours, top up your stores with an Energy Bar or Energy Gel to start off strong.
As well as getting your energy stores topped up, it’s helpful to make sure you start your training session hydrated, particularly if it’s warm. If you’re dehydrated before you even start exercising, you will make your heart work harder and your body will find it harder to control your core temperature. Starting hydrated with water and an electrolyte drink such as ZERO will help you enjoy your sport more! To get the most out of your session, try ZERO Caffeine Hit for a sugar free caffeine boost.
Energy and hydration are most important for during a training session – making sure you’ve got the right nutrition can help you get the best out of your exercise. You’ll be able to push further, helping you close in on your fitness goals.
Your body only has enough carbohydrate storage to last around 90 minutes of strenuous exercise – this means if you’re exercising for longer, you need to top up your stores with sports drinks, gels, and bars to maintain your performance. It’s not fun to run out of energy!
If you deplete your stores (known as glycogen depletion), you’ll feel fatigued and like your legs are made of lead. It also makes you prone to overtraining, which can lead to poor recovery, coughs, colds, loss of muscle strength to protect joins, failure to improve your performance despite training hard, disrupted sleep, poor concentration and negative moods.
Keep yourself fuelled with Energy Drink for longer sessions, and depending on how much you drink, take on additional carbohydrates from Energy Bars or Energy Gels. Try aiming for 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour, but experiment and see what works best for you.
If you are drinking Energy Drink, you can take the following number of gels or bars shown per hour to provide you with 80-90g of carbohydrate per hour:
Staying hydrated throughout your workout is also very important – no matter how long you’re training for. You lose more than one litre of fluid for every hour you exercise, and your performance will suffer if it’s not replaced.
As your sweat contains both water and electrolytes, you need to replace both with an a electrolyte sports drink such as ZERO. Use something like Energy Bars or Energy Gels to stay energised and have ZERO as your main drink for sessions longer than 90 minutes, and just ZERO for sessions less than that. If you’re also taking Energy Drink, try popping a ZERO Neutral tab in to keep your electrolytes topped up.
Energy with Protein
If you’re doing lots of exercise on multiple days in a row, it can be helpful to take on protein during your sessions to start the recovery process early. An all-in-one sports drink such as Energy Drink with Protein can help you take on additional protein during your sessions, helping you sustain your performance as well as promoting the growth and recovery of normal muscles – resulting in stronger, more resilient muscle.
If you hydrate well and keep your energy levels sufficiently topped up, you can push yourself harder and further – meaning you’ll get more out of your training!
Whether you’re running, cycling, or anything else, finding the nutrition that works best for you is key. If you’re a runner, you might need a lighter consistency gel such as Energy Gel Aqua, which doesn’t require extra water when taking. Cyclists tend to prefer Energy Bars as their fuel, and multi-sports athletes can benefit from Energy Drink with Protein.
After you’ve finished, make sure to cool down effectively and take on the right nutrition to maximise your recovery. Your body will recover at its greatest rate during the two-hour window immediately after exercise – but only if you provide it with high quality nutrients.
Within 20 minutes, take a Recovery Drink, and eat a balanced meal within 2 hours. This will replenish your carbohydrate stores depleted from exercise and provide you with protein to repair and grow the muscles that you trained. After stressing your muscles during training, recovery and repair is what makes us become stronger and fitter in the long run.
As we mentioned earlier, you lose more than one litre of fluid for every hour you exercise! As you are unlikely to be able to top this up during your workout, make sure to take on water and electrolytes such as ZERO to replenish and rehydrate your body.
Finally, it’s important to make sure your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs as an active person. Sports Vitamins are formulated with active bodies in mind, with active ingredients and vitamins that are essential for anyone training regularly. If you want to rehydrate as well as protect, ZERO Protect is formulated with vitamins and active ingredients, as well as key electrolytes.
No matter your sport or your fitness goals, HIGH5 is here to support you all the way!
HIGH5 Starter Nutrition Pack
The HIGH5 Starter Nutrition Pack is a great place to start if you want to test our award winning products. It contains the most popular Energy, Hydration and Recovery products to help you get the most from your sport. Get yours here.