I HOPE you all enjoyed the feast of great sporting entertainment last weekend, whether it was at the regatta, at Centre Court or watching the Tour de France in front of the TV.
Although we can’t hope to emulate the dizzy heights of success our sporting heroes achieve, we can improve our own performance in our chosen sport — or just in the keep fit stakes — by taking a few tips from them on the nutrition front.
First of all, we have to understand what these great specimens of humans are going through to achieve excellence. Let’s take tennis as an example. Top players can burn up to 500 calories for a woman, and up to 700 calories for a man per hour so the importance of ingesting the right calories is crucial. Your body uses a fuel called glycogen during moderate to intense exercise. If you are exercising below this you are using your fat stores.
The first thing to realise is your goals. If you’re exercising most days and are in control of your body fat, then having some fast-release carbohydrates such as fruit or fruit juice or some sugary cereals is ideal to replenish your stores quickly, combined with some protein such as yoghurt, eggs or chicken, and balanced with some slow release carbohydrates such as vegetables, oats or brown rice.
On the other hand, if you need to lose some excess body fat I would advise strongly that you remove these fast-release sugars from your diet until you reach your ideal body fat levels. Excess body fat will only slow you down.