A vegan athlete. Fuel. Train. Recover. Repeat.
Want to complete your training session? Then you need to fuel and hydrate right in order to stay upright.
If you have ever been out on a long bike ride, long run or even attended a crazy gym session you might have experienced ‘the bonk’. Basically the harsh way of your body telling you that you are running on empty.
Do you fail to plan or plan to fail?
Whether you exercise for general health, train for weight loss or an athlete in competition you need to have a fuel & hydration strategy in place both pre and post training to enhance the session and aid recovery.
A combination of carbohydrates (energy) and protein (recovery) should be present in every meal with carbohydrates coming from wholefoods, fresh fruit & vegetables and protein from sources such as pea protein, chia seeds, nuts and seeds. The key here is to make the nutrients count.
Fuel your workout
If starting out exercising in the morning you don’t necessarily need to start on a full stomach but you do need to be well hydrated and have enough glycogen in your system to see you through the training session at hand. Glucose is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. When we exercise the liver breaks down glycogen and releases the glucose into the bloodstream for energy. The muscles use this glucose to fuel their work. When glycogen is depleted we become fatigued and are well on our way to bonking.
This is where we need carbohydrates. Carbs influence how much glycogen is stored and the amount we need depends on our activity level and exercise duration. A good on the go energy drink of ours is coconut water, juice of a lemon, lemon zest, chia seeds and a splash of agave syrup.
Begin you workout or training session well hydrated especially when it comes to the warmer months. During your session frequent sips of water will help to avoid dehydration – if you session is under 1hr avoid sugary energy drink at all cost. With exercise sessions over 1 hour we recommend including electrolytes during and after the session to help with recovery.
Train mindfully and recover wisely
Your body needs quality carbohydrates to replenish glycogen and protein for repair. We follow a 4:1 ratio, as recommended by Thrive. Ideas of how to get this ratio are to consuming a recovery smoothie (coconut water, banana, nuts, protein powder and kale) post workout, no more than 30mins after or a pea protein mixed with coconut water.
Remember to listen to your body and find your balance. Over-exercising can lead to symptoms such as elevated heart rate – chronic fatigue – a greater susceptibility to colds – difficulty sleeping – increased anxiety – joint and muscle injuries. Its OK to take a day off to recharge and it’s a must to have regular massages and check in with your sports physician.
Food and fitness go together like Usain Bolt and gold medals but we need to respect both or the consequences can lead to an unwelcomed break from what you love doing the most – training.