Saturday, August 4, 2012

Eating and Drinking During and After Sport

During most sports, your body’s main fuel mix comes from carbohydrate (from muscle glycogen and blood glucose) and fat. Generally, if your sport involves less than an hour of activity, you will perform well without having to refuel during the event

If your sport or training takes longer than an hour, you may benefit from consuming some carbohydrates during sport in addition to fluid.

The decision will depend on the:

  • Intensity of the exercise (higher intensity burns glycogen more quickly); 
  • Duration (the longer the event, the more carbohydrate is burned); 
  • Ambient temperature (the hotter it is, the quicker glycogen will be burned. But it is more likely dehydration will limit performance);
  • Also depend on how well you have eaten before sport (eating carbohydrate before exercise increases body carbohydrate stores, but also increases the rate at which carbohydrate is burned during exercise).

The benefits of consuming carbohydrate during exercise include:

a) Keeping blood glucose levels high during prolonged moderate-high intensity events. Blood glucose can provide an alternative fuel source for the muscle when glycogen levels dwindle.
b) Providing a fuel source for the brain to maintain skills and decision making, and reduce the perception of fatigue.
c) Sparing or replenishing muscle glycogen.


During sport theoretically drink 1 cup (~150ml) of fluid every 15-20 minutes of exercise. In practical, if impossible to look at your watch to know the exact time to meet your bottle, continuously sips water throughout the exercise.

Sport lasting less than an hour (<45minutes data-blogger-escaped-font="font">
- Water will replace fluid losses, and is a good choice

Sport lasting about an hour:
- Consider sport drink. It should not be necessary to provide the muscle with additional carbohydrate, and fluid replacement is considered the main nutritional need. However, some recent studies found by consuming CHO, performance is enhanced in  sustained high-intensity exercise lasting about one hour – such as a 40 km cycling time trial. CHO nt give big impact on muscle fuel but the benefits were attributed to an affect on the brain and nervous system, making subjects feel better and choose a faster pace.

Sport lasting about 60-90 minutes

Most team sports and individual events are completed within 90 minutes of action – for example, netball, squash, football, soccer, hockey or a 10 km jog.

Your fluid plan should make use of the opportunities to drink during these activities to replace a reasonable proportion of your sweat loss.

 It is likely that some level of fatigue will occur during these sports to slow you down or impair your skills. Fatigue can often be due to inadequate fuel supplies.

Risk factors include not having an opportunity to fuel up in the day prior to your event, going without breakfast before a morning event, or being in a higher intensity sport where fuel is burned faster.

Sports longer than 90 minutes

A competition fuel plan should be developed in training sessions, to fine tune the timing, type and amount of carbohydrate choices that suit the athlete and the logistics of their sport.

Some general guidelines are: 

  1. It seems best to start refueling early in the event rather than waiting for fuel stores to become depleted; 
  2. A carbohydrate intake in the range of 30-60grams per hour works suggested, for sport lasting more than 4hour a carbohydrate in take is 50-90grams per hour and eat protein too; 
  3. Fuel-containing drinks are often able to look after all needs of the event. For example, fuel targets can usually be met by 500-1000 ml of a sports drink per hour; 
  4. As the length of the event increases (and the intensity is reduced), there may be more opportunity or need to consume solid carbohydrate choices. These can range from special sports foods to confectionery items and everyday foods.
Why should I eat and drink after exercise?

Recovery after a workout or competitive event is vital for : 
  • Refuelling 
  • Repair 
  • Adaptation Rehydration
Is very important to eat within 30minutes post sport to maximise glycogen synthesis, to rehydrate the body, muscle repair and to replace electrolyte loss. Consider to take foods that rich in carbohydrate foods ( high GI, in liquid or soft form for faster digestion), simple protein and fluid contain electrolytes. 

In my opinion MILK is the best recovery foods. Why? Milk contain carbohydrate, protein and electrolytes. In liquid form which is easy to absorb. So drink 500ml milk post exercise.

Examples of post-exercise snacks

Sports drinks, Fruit juice or soft drink Banana sandwich Fresh fruit, canned fruit Sweet muffins Breakfast bar, muesli bar Sports bar, Fruit smoothie (low-fat milk, banana, yoghurt) Liquid meal supplement (e.g. Sustagen Sport) Breakfast cereal + milk and fruit Sandwich or roll including meat/cheese/chicken in filling Baked potato + baked beans + grated cheese

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