Collection: Quick tips for optimal training nutrition

Proper nutrition is essential to ensure you’re properly prepared to perform your best on race days. But good nutrition starts with your training preparation.  In this series of nutrition guides, Sports & exercise nutritionist Marewa Kraak starts with quick tips on how to make the most of your training sessions with good nutrition. Advice Follow our upcoming nutrition series to read about race day nutrition, and how to recover quickly from training & racing with good nutrition.

Getting Ready

  • We all know it, but we can't emphasise it enough.  Practice your nutrition strategies in training so you know what works and what doesn’t.  Your body won’t thank you if you turn up to a race with a whole lot of new products you have never used.
  • Find your preferred brands of sports supplements (gels, bars etc), practice timing and quantities of consumption and even practice your pre-race breakfast so that when it comes to race time there’s no surprises.
  • Practicing good nutrition in training will also help you get more out of each training session.

This is intended as a general guide, so your personal requirements may differ slightly depending on any dietary conditions or your type of sporting event. For example, drinking consistently during an open water swimming event could get difficult!  So use this as an ideal rule of thumb.  If you have specific training nutrition questions or requirements, Marewa Kraak is available for individual sports & exercise nutrition consultations (in person or by phone/skype) so contact us to find out more.

  Training up to 1 hour (light to medium)
  • Water is perfect for hydration when exercising for up to an hour and you may not need any other nutrition like gels, food etc . You can also use sports drinks with low/no top up electrolytes if desired.
  • Listen to your body, if you're feeling dehydrated before your training session you should drink 500 - 750ml water or sports drink before you head out to train to avoid a poor training session caused by dehydration.
  Training up to 1 hour (hard)
  • Intense exercise for an hour like interval training or fast climbing, drinking a good sports drink with 4-8% carbohydrates and electrolytes will help to replace lost glycogen stores in your body. You will feel much better than on plain water or  sports drinks with no carbohydrates.
  • Aim to drink 500 – 750ml per hour.
  Training more than 1 hour (light to medium)
  • Water or low / no carbohydrate drinks for the first hour plus food if needed and then use a good sports drink after the first hour. Use gels or food when needed.
  • Aim to drink 500 – 750ml per hour. 
  Training more than 1 hour (hard)
  • Medium to intense exercise for over an hour increases the importance of good nutrition. Your body will need to re-hydrate with a good sports drink with 4-8% carbohydrates plus added electrolytes to replace lost glycogen stores and electrolytes in your body.
  • You will need upwards of 50g carbohydrates per hour and again 500-750mls of sports drink per hour. 
  Training recovery - very important! Most of your fitness and strength gains happen when you are recovering between training sessions.
  • When you have just finished your exercise, especially if it has been a long or hard training session, it is very important to refuel your body in the first 30 minutes after exercise as this is the optimal window to help your body recover and help realise training gains.
  • Recovery drinks are an easy way to refuel your body after hard training. Most have a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein and these will speed muscle recovery and maximise training gains.
  • Aim to have a main meal within 1-2 hours.
By following these guidelines you will be able to train harder and more often.  Listen to your body if you're not feeling good or tired during your training it's sometimes better to go home and rest.   



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