GIAG: The Principles; "Why can't I eat a butt-ton of pasta and then go for a run?"

GIAG: The Principles is a series of posts where we clue you into the basics of fitness and set up you up to get the most out of the time and energy you put in.

 

So why can't you consume a litre of ice-cream and then immediately do a HIIT session?
Or chug a carton of milk and then commit yourself to a hundred star jumps?
I mean, you totally can. We're not here to shame your food choices.
It just might not be the most comfortable experience for you.

One thing to digest (pun intended) is that everyone has a unique gut or ‘micro biome’.
So take it into account when you read articles in fancy magazines that say: "it’s totally okay to exercise at the crack of dawn on an empty stomach".
You might be aware that there is a science to nutrition for exercise; it can be overwhelming, but take it all with a pinch of salt (incidentally, we'll cover salt below) for now and follow our handy-dandy guide to fuelling your exercise.
 

Listen To Your Body

The rule of thumb: your body knows what's up.
If you wake up in the morning really thirsty because the last sip of water you had was at dinnertime the night before, chances are your body needs some more water.
Similarly, if you are lagging in energy and feeling peckish before a workout, your body needs some food. A small portion should keep you going for the duration of your exercise session.
 

Snack Hacks

Choose easily digestible snacks before exercise.
The body needs to be able to breakdown food easily and quickly to use the energy for when it’s needed.
Some good choices are; a banana, a small portion of porridge oats, a yoghurt with fruit toppings, nut butter on toast, a smoothie, a granola bar, a couple of crackers with a light topping.
 

Food Fuel

The study of food to help us exercise explains how the different sources of energy; carbohydrates, fats and proteins are converted to expendable energy for us to be able to move and do more with our body. Check out the kinds of food that are included in each of the following areas:
 

Carbohydrates

These are the most immediate source of energy required by the brain and bloodstream for energy needs.
It provides the simplest, smallest form of molecule called glucose which cannot be stored. Therefore, the higher the intensity of exercise, the more rapidly the body requires energy.
 

Fats

Fats are a reserve energy.
When consumed, fat molecules are broken down and circulate the body to provide energy if needed.
If it isn’t needed, it's broken down further and the excess fat molecules are stored.
To break down the stored fats, oxygen is required (like when you exercise).
 

Proteins

Proteins are more complex than carbohydrates and fats.
They're made up of chains of amino acids, which are needed for growth and repair in the body.
Energy is not protein's primary use, however, it is used during energy production.
 

Timing

  1. Keep sipping water after your workout. In fact you should be drinking more throughout the day before and after the workout.
    Drinking more water will do you some good anyway!

  2. Although bananas are considered a good source of fast delivering energy before exercise, they are also a good source of post-exercise potassium.
    A banana will replenish the potassium sources depleted during training through sweat! (The salty taste in your sweat is in fact mostly potassium, not salt.)

  3. Allow approximately one hour after you eat a snack before attempting to exercise, and longer after a meal.
    This allows time for the food to travel down the gut (also one reason why you can experience a “stitch”).