How to Fuel Your Body During a Workout

June 9, 2022
How to Fuel Your Body During a Workout

Sport and nutrition are at the heart of current health issues. To be fit and healthful, “eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day”, and “practice regular physical activity”, how to implement these recommendations? 

Discover our nutrition guidance to combine sport and diet and be healthier.

Sport and diet: the healthy trend

Awareness, food revolution, or major trend? Healthy eating nicknamed “healthy” is everywhere and appears to be part of an overall desire to consume better. 

In Europe, France is one of the leading organic countries in terms of production and consumption: strong growth merged with a gradual return to local and seasonal, homemade versus processed products.

A way of life in the making? This urge to eat better to be in better health occupies a growing place in sports nutrition: often confined to classic starchy meat, the sportsman’s diet is also evolving towards a more varied and colorful diet where the sources of proteins and carbohydrates diversify.

The essentials of a good diet

Carbohydrates for energy

Necessary for proper muscle function, carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. As part of a proportional sports diet, we favor “good” carbohydrates that provide fiber and nutrients while being low in fat. 

Starchy foods like whole grains (whole grain pasta, rice, and bread, oatmeal, quinoa) and legumes (lentils, beans, beans, and chickpeas) are excellent sources of healthy carbohydrates and fiber. These foods constitute between 50 and 60% of the athlete’s meal.

Lipids to support the effort

Contrary to popular belief, sources of fat, also called lipids, are good for your health, supplied you choose them well. Lipids are a key source of energy for exercise over the medium and long term. 

Among the foods rich in good lipids, we find vegetable oils of rapeseed, olive, oleaginous fruits (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds), avocado, fatty fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel), linseed, and dark chocolate.

Our advice: for their good fat content, oleaginous fruits are excellent as a snack before or during exercise.

Proteins to maintain muscle tissue

Indispensable in sports nutrition, proteins promote muscle growth and the repair of muscle tissue weakened by effort. 

Proteins are found in many foods of animal or plant origin: lean meat or poultry, white fish like cod or fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, legumes such as soybeans and their derivatives, seeds (pumpkin, hemp, sunflower), and oleaginous products (peanut butter, pistachios, almonds). 

Protein comprises between 15 and 20% of sports nutrition.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals contribute to the proper functioning of the body by providing nutrients essential to the health of our metabolism.

Vitamins are found in large quantities in fruits and vegetables, animal liver, and fatty fish which actively contribute to this intake. 

Vitamins A, C, and E, present in large part in plants, are excellent antioxidants for the health of the athlete. 

As physical activity increases the production of free radicals, antioxidants act to combat this oxidative stress and prevent premature aging of cells. 

Result: better recovery and less risk of injury during sport.

Present in many foods, mineral salts (calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc.) and trace elements (iron, iodine, selenium, etc.) have various health benefits: improvement of bone strength, functioning nervous system, and cardiovascular health. 

Mineral salts and trace elements are found in green vegetables, legumes, dairy products, and oilseeds, but also in seafood, certain meats, and cocoa.

Water to stay well hydrated

Water is the best ally of athletes: during and after exercise, it prevents dehydration, compensates for the loss of water caused by perspiration, and improves recovery capacities. 

As part of a balanced diet, it is recommended to drink between 1.5 and 2 liters of water per day.

Our advice: hydrate yourself regularly in small sips before, during, and after exercise. Do not wait to be thirsty to drink, the feeling of thirst often means that you are already dehydrated!

Foods to avoid

Products high in saturated fat and processed foods such as sweets, fast food, and sodas promote cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases. 

They should be avoided in the context of sports nutrition because they are difficult to digest, reduce performance, and do not provide benefits to the body.

Seek advice from a nutritionist

Do you want to get back into sport and rethink your diet? Do not hesitate to consult your general practitioner and to call on a nutritionist to design your return to sport and the associated diet. 

These specialists will allow you to understand your body to better establish your action plan in accordance with your health.

Photo: Pexels/ Karolina Grabowska

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Margaud Raynaud is a beauty expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and tips with others and has a particular interest in skincare and makeup. When she's not writing about health and beauty, Margaud enjoys trying out new products and experimenting with different looks. Follow her blog for expert advice and inspiration for living your best life.

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