The importance of ‘post race’ nutrition

You finally did it….. you are a finisher… you can’t get that shiny medal around your neck fast enough…. and yes you will wear it (along with your race bib) around for the rest of the day, just so everyone knows….. that you did it. (that is totally me)

It’s a pretty good feeling crossing the finish line of a fitness challenge you have spent weeks training for. It’s relief, exhaustion and a whole lot of satisfaction all bundled into one.

You catch your breath, find your feet, collect your thoughts. Now what?10598527_712421025515643_1007091943_n

Well for me the first thing on my mind always is FOOD. Post-race nutrition is really important when it comes to how well your body will bounce back. Not only do your muscles need nutrients to help with repair and recovery BUT you sure as hell deserve to reward yourself with a little bit of a feast.

First… WATER. Re-hydration is one of the keys to post race recovery. Consciously drink at least 1 full bottle of water in the first 5-10 minutes of finishing. Almost as important is replenishing electrolytes which are lost via sweat. Some people choose sports drinks, I personally find these way too sweet so I prefer to add a little sea salt to my water and sip on that.

Second…FOOD. Following an intense exercise effort your body needs two main things; carbohydrates and protein. Carbs will replenish your energy stores while protein helps with repairing damaged muscle.

Carbohydrates are best consumed in the 30 minutes post exercise as this is when your muscles are most receptive to replenishing glycogen stores. Protein is essential for muscle repair, the best sources here are meat, fish or eggs Vegetarian options include legumes and beans.

If you struggle with the idea of solid food after exercise which I know a lot of people do, opt for a protein shake. This can kick start your recovery until you feel ready to stomach a proper meal. Protein shakes with berries, banana and coconut water is packed with all the right things! A pea protein is the best option if it’s available.

What happens if you don’t refuel effectively?

Are you human?!? Seriously, for me the 8 hours after a hard event my brain is programmed to eat… but I always try to eat well. I’m not necessarily reaching for a greasy burger & bowl of chips instead my go to is generally breakfast as it’s normally my first meal for the day. Think eggs & bacon, lots of bacon. I get my carbohydrates from something like sweet potato chips or a grain free bread such as sprouted quinoa bread. For the remainder of the day I try to always have a carb & protein source in every meal. I also ALWAYS have my favourite little treat…Coconut Rough. Chocolate & coconut all mixed into bite size pieces of heaven (I’ll have a whole bag please).

If you are craving something in particular EAT IT. Your body is telling you something and you have well and truly earned it.

If you don’t give your body adequate nutrients after an intense bout of exercise you will take longer than usual to recover, you will feel tired, run down & the likelihood of you falling sick is slightly higher.

The next obvious step for many is a couple of ‘celebratory drinks’……. Champagne, beers & jugs of pimms; let your hair down & congratulate yourself a little. Just remember alcohol will dehydrate you more so probably not a bad idea to alternate with waters for the sake of your body.

Hope you are having a great week!

Ems

Eating your way to healthy, glowing skin

The skin is our largest organ… yes it is an organ, and a very important one. It protects us from the elements, regulates our body temperature & allows us to feel sensations such as hot, cold, sharp or blunt. Given the huge surface area that our skin covers & what we expose it to its no wonder many of us run into skin related problems…. Acne, rashes, dermatitis, skin fungus, scars or eczema. These are not uncommon problems and may of us will be faced with at least one at some stage.

Can you eat your way to better skin? Simply yes you can. What you feed your insides will be reflected on the outside. The
re are other lifestyle factors that can affect your skin such as smoking, alcohol, makeup & skin care products, hormones, stress & in some cases genetic factors BUT your skin can be a whole lot better if you start being a little more conscious of what you put in your mouth.

Want to get the glow? Then include a little more of these foods in your diet.

  • BROCCOLI the most wondrous of all the green vegetables. It’s packed full of things that every part of your body will love. High in vitamin C which helps with the production of collagen & it also contains lots of vitamin E which helps protect your skin against damage from UV rays.
  • ALMONDS speaking of vitamin E, almonds are another great source. Grab a small handful of raw almonds as a snack or add them to your salad at lunch.
  • OILY FISH such as salmon or trout is packed full of omega 3 fats. These are good fats that help to keep the skin soft & supple. If you have issues with dry or inflamed skin you need to get a little more fishy fish in your diet,
  • CARROTS contain an antioxidant called beta carotene… This can be converted into vitamin A in the body and is important for repairing tissues. Not enough vitamin A = dry, cracked skin. Insiders tip… cooked carrots actually deliver higher levels of antioxidants so roast away (just be aware of what you roast them in)
  • PUMPKIN SEEDS are full of zinc which is important in skin renewal and wound healing. Next time you go to bin the pumpkin seeds DON’T. Rinse them in water, place on a baking tray with a little sea salt & roast for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy as am afternoon snack!
  • BERRIES…. especially blueberries are high in antioxidants & vitamin C both of which are great for fighting against cell damage and guarding against premature aging of the skin.
  • WATER, the elixir of life & it’s great for your skin. Being adequately hydrated keeps the cells plump & full which gives your skin a firmer clearer look. Having enough water also ensures your body can expel unwanted waste & toxins whilst maintaining important nutrients within the cells. We all know the number… 8 glasses (at least) every day!

Eating plenty of the right foods is easy enough… but what about avoiding the bad ones? It’s a little more difficult.. and the list is slightly longer…..

Keep an eye out for next weeks blog about what foods to avoid if you really want healthy, glowing skin!

Have a great day

Ems 🙂