Getting the most out of your fitness training session is dependent on a good supply of carbohydrate energy - and high calorie diets are critical to sports success. If carbohydrate stores are compromised (through a poor diet) training intensity and performance will be impaired.
Muscles need fuel to be able to produce energy and this is provided from the food we consume. The muscle needs energy for power and to be able to grow and repair. All the food and drink we consume can provide us with energy from carbohydrates, fat, protein or alcohol.
Carbohydrate is needed to fuel almost every type of activity and it is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. A good store of glycogen will allow you to train at your optimal intensity and help your achieve a greater training effect. The body however, can only stores a limited amount of carbohydrate so it is important to eat adequate amounts before, during and after training to meet the fuel demands. Carbohydrate rich foods include: Wholegrain breads, cereals, rice, noodles, crackers, fruit, fruit juice, fruit loaf, sports drinks, energy bars and gels and cereal bars.
A low dietary intake of carbohydrate can increase muscle protein breakdown and you will not get the most out of your training. Low carbohydrate intakes increase the risk of catching colds, sore throats, flu or an infection. It can be the first sign that you are either training too hard or not eating enough carbohydrates on a regular basis.
Studies have shown that athletes also require higher protein intakes that the normal population and guidelines are between 1.2 to 2 grams protein per kilogram of body weight. Athletes who have high energy requirements for training and competition can easily meet the additional protein requirement through their diets.
Protein supplements have become very popular with elite and recreational athletes, however experts advise that they should not be used to substitute for a poorly planned diet but may be used as a convenient way to make up the protein requirements, or for those who do not have high energy intakes and may find it difficult to achieve their protein requirement (This may be athletes who are trying to reduce body fat levels or vegetarian, vegan athletes, strength athletes who may find it more difficult achieving their protein recommendations).
The best way to use protein supplements is to include it in your post workout snack. Protein ideally should be taken with carbohydrate in your recovery foods to create the ideal hormonal response and deliver protein into the muscle and refuel the muscle carbohydrate stores.
Weightplan’s high calorie meal plans are designed by our nutritionists to ensure you get both calories and protein to fuel your sports, fitness or gym activity - ensuring you achieve peak potential and reach your goals. By combining nutrition with activity you are much more likely to achieve lean muscle growth. Try a Weightplan meal plan - and see the difference in weeks.