It is quite simply the most common question we hear from you – what nutrition do I need to use in training? And more specifically, how much fluid, when to have carbs, what about electrolytes, should I add protein?? No matter what new exciting product or promise is out there, your basic nutrition needs are actually quite simple, and the science behind the nutrition is very clear. With that in mind, we can give you easy guidelines to follow to get the most out of your training, whatever your sport.
It’s vital you start every session well hydrated (that means light yellow urine) so drink plenty of water throughout your day.
2. To eat or not to eat before training?
If you’re training for more than an hour, try a carbohydrate rich snack before you start; easy options are a banana or sourdough with peanut butter. On the other hand, if you skip eating and have a low intensity session, you will burn more fat stores. However if you don’t eat and tackle a high intensity session, chances are you will hit a wall at some point which can be pretty miserable; you’ll only want to do that once.
For long training sessions, try something more substantial like porridge with banana and honey before you head out the door These ‘practice’ meals are a good chance to find out what you can digest comfortably, and can then help you decide what you can eat on a big race day.
3. Is coffee OK?
Caffeine has been show to consistently improve exercise performance, so consuming it before training can results in an improvement in your body’s fuel utilisation and sparing of your precious muscle glycogen stores. It also helps to decrease your perception of effort during exercise and can improve focus and energy and alertness.
Caffeine also has the benefit of increasing lipolysis, which is your body’s ability to break down fat. So if coffee is your thing, by all means make the most of its benefits prior to a workout.
4. Nutrition during training:
If you are training for an hour or less water is enough to get you through. You’ll require roughly 750ml of fluid per hour, however this volume can very a lot depending on your size, sweat rates, intensity of session and climate. This step takes practice to get it right. If you are a heavy sweater, you can add a source of sugar- free electrolytes such as Bindilyte to your water to help replenish what you are sweating out in those shorter sessions.
For sessions longer than an hour your performance will decline and fatigue will set in of you don’t replenish carbohydrates. Consider including carbohydrates in your fluids, as your body can’t store enough energy to get you through on just water.
5. Electrolytes are vital:
A sports drink will also replace the electrolytes (such as sodium, magnesium and potassium) that you are sweating out, and will help with muscle function and prevention of cramping. The correct electrolyte mix will also help you absorb fluid well across your gut which reduces the chance of discomfort and hydrates you more efficiently. Choose from Bindilyte for easier, shorter sessions, or Bindi Natural Sports Hydration for longer and more intense sessions.
6. Add extra carbs:
For an intense or longer session your sports drink alone won’t provide enough energy, so consider adding to add some extra carbohydrates that are easy to digest. Try a banana, a vegemite sandwich or a pureed fruit pack for a quick hit of energy. Practice this regularly – it will training your gut to digest carbs during training, and you can rfeally find out what works for you so you can make a race day plan based on this.
7. What about protein?
Adding protein during training will simply increase your calorie intake – it won’t make your go faster or reduce fatigue. We know protein does its best work after training, so save it for that first feed after you finish. Try a protein rich breakfast such as eggs with sourdough and spinach; or an easy protein smoothie like our Perfect Protein Smoothie
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER…
For a 2-hour bike ride, this could be a breakfast of oatmeal with banana. Then during the first hour of training it’s bottle of Bindi Natural Sports Hydration, a banana and extra water. During the second hour; another bottle of Bindi Natural Sports Hydration, plus an energy bar (or try a vegemite sandwich or a banana). As you can see, there is plenty of room for personal preferences once you get the basic rules right.
Practice makes perfect!
It is vital that you practise your fuelling strategies in training, because what you find works for you can then constitute the basis of your race day plan. By planning out your training sessions and choosing your nutrition accordingly, you are fuelling for the work required, which is the perfect to improve performance and make the most out of your hard work in training.