Tips from a Sports Dietitian Eating for Next Level Fitness

July 2, 2023 0 Comments

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Welcome to the second part of our men’s health month series eating for next-level Fitness. Brett Singer, sports dietitian at the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute, is back to offer more ways to eat for optimal health, fitness and sports performance. Follow our social channels and Community Forum throughout the month to join the conversation.

When it comes to weight loss, muscle building and recovery, a little math goes a long way. These tips are aimed at supporting your training program and your fitness goals for better health.

Carbohydrates are our main source of energy during high intensity exercises. Eating carbohydrates during exercise allows us to stay active longer, delay fatigue and, ultimately, perform better. A good rule of thumb is to consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour with continuous exercise that lasts more than 90 minutes. This can take the form of sports drinks, gels, fruits, chewing products or bars. If the activity is low-intensity, frequent breaks are integrated (for example a workout at the gym) or short-term, Carbohydrate intake during exercise should not be necessary.

If you want to build strength and muscle, try to consume about 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Although more is certainly good if you prefer, eating this amount of protein in combination with a weight training program and sufficient energy intake can help improve strength and muscle mass. Don’t know how to calculate this? Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, this will convert your weight into kilograms. Now multiply by the referenced protein range.

When trying to lose weight, the protein intake should be increased even more. Weight loss can lead to loss of muscle and strength. By combining a higher protein intake with resistance training, more muscle can be spared. Protein can also help us feel full. Although there is no perfect figure for everyone, the recommendations for daily protein intake during weight loss are up to 2.4 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Two training sessions in one day? Protein usually seems to be the goal of recovery after exercise. Although protein is important, athletes who perform two training sessions in one day should prioritize carbohydrate intake immediately after the first session. The consumption of carbohydrates in the first hour and every hour in the first hours after training allows a rapid recovery of carbohydrate reserves in the muscle. Aim for about 1 to 1.2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight (or about ½ gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight) in the first 60 minutes after exercise when preparing for two high-intensity sessions during the day. Fruits, cereals, starchy foods or recovery drinks containing carbohydrates can be possible options for post-workout intake.

When we exercise, we produce sweat to extract heat from our body and ultimately regulate our core temperature. When we lose more than 2% of our body weight due to sweating, especially when we train in hot environments, performance begins to decrease. So how do you know if you’re on the right track? Weigh yourself (in a minimum of clothes) just before training. Immediately after training, dry and change wet clothes, weigh again. If you have lost much more than 2% of your body weight, consider consuming more fluids during workouts.

Once a workout is over, it’s time to get ready for the rest of our day and the workouts to come. While a pound of sweat is equivalent to 16 ounces, it is recommended to drink closer to 20 to 24 ounces of liquid for every Pound of sweat lost a few hours after the end of the workout. This helps to compensate for some of the initial urine production that occurs with our fluid intake and helps us to restore the initial state of hydration.

The first missed part of the food for next-level Fitness? Read it here. Reach your next-level fitness goals even faster by tracking your diet on MyFitnessPal. Download our app today or take it to the next level with a Premium Subscription.

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