Nutrition around training

Richard Staudner
Richard Staudner

The Optimizer

Only in a sober state you can be in the Training Lose fat and when you've done the last exercise, you need to immediately drink a complex shake to build muscle!"

Bro science? Fitness fairy tale? Or is there really something behind it. Let's take a closer look.

When is actually "before training"?

Before we get into the details of your supplies around your Training we should be aware of one thing: If you wake up in the morning and try to pack into your breakfast all the nutrients you'll need in training, you may already be too late. Our performance in the weight room and on the court is not determined by one meal. Your general eating habits are just as relevant as what you ate yesterday, of course. Your performance is determined more by the sum of your nutrition.

Furthermore, our body also needs a certain amount of time to digest the food in the gastrointestinal tract and to break down and incorporate all the nutrients. It takes several hours until the nutrients have been processed and are available to the body.

The stomach is usually finished with your meal after 3-5 hours and passes it on to the intestines. Fruit etc. goes faster, hard-to-digest and fatty foods sometimes take longer. In the individual passages of the intestine, the food mush then usually remains for several hours until the nutrients have been absorbed. With very hearty food, this can also take a little longer. Until the final elimination can take 24-120 hours, this is of course very individual and dependent on many factors.

Breakfast can be important, but please keep in mind that it takes more than the morning meal to get a strong workout.

Do I need to eat at all before the workout?

It all depends on the type of training you do and what your personal goal is!

Those who mainly do sports to reduce weight can in any case train in a fasted state. Of course, this would be out of the question for bodybuilders. He needs a regular supply of nutrients, so every gram and every repetition on the iron counts. And the same applies to professional footballers. In order to keep the energy level up to the last minute, high-quality food and nutritional supplements are needed on a regular basis.

For the health sportsman and Abnehmwilligen counts however rather whether training in the chamfering mode really fits to one. Sport should be fun! Only then will you become a repeat offender. If it is a huge overcoming for you, for example, to go running sober, then it is perhaps better to eat something easy to digest beforehand. Here, I guess it also comes down to personal preference. If you feel very hungry on an empty stomach and have no concentration or even feel nauseous, then it may not be for you. Often, however, it can simply be a matter of habit. If you want to achieve maximum performance or are in competitive sports, you should provide yourself with carbohydrates about 1-2h before training.

What's the point of exercising sober, anyway?

The science is not yet completely agreed on this. According to some studies, an increased fat burning can definitely be achieved. Other studies, however, claim that this is not necessarily ensured. In any case, more time is needed to answer this question definitively. Even though fasting has been used for many centuries, there are still too few long-term studies. The most valuable effect is however probably rather in the range health to be found again. Fasting triggers the recycling process of defective cells! Autophagy called.

Ok, but are you concerned with muscle gain? In the hardcore weight room, fasting is taboo in the build up. If you just want to boost your aesthetics and health in general, then fasting before hypertrophy training is no problem. You have to feel good, that's important!

In general, you should only be careful if you already have a very low body fat content. If you are in fasting mode in the gym until and after long training have used up all reserves, it may be that the body's own protein is used as an energy source and thus muscle mass is reduced.

What foods are needed for good performance?

When it comes to optimal performance, it's not amino acids, carbohydrates or other nutrients that hold first place. It's water, plain and simple! No other substance has such an outstanding effect on performance as water. It is the foundation of our lives and, along with oxygen, is the most essential thing your body needs to function. No matter if you are under cognitive or physical stress. Unfortunately, many of us still drink too little in everyday life or in sports.

Your body needs at least 0.5 liters of water per hour for optimal performance. If you sweat a lot, you should drink up to 1.5-2 liters around your workout. Don't wait to get thirsty, get into the habit of drinking regularly!

It is important that you provide yourself with sufficient water before training. According to studies, 0.5 liters in the evening before training, 0.5 liters after waking up and another 0.5 liters 20-30 min before training are recommended.

Functional drinks before the workout

There are many energy drinks on the market that promise us power for our task. Most of them are only based on a high content of caffeine. But in fact, there are smarter drinks that can be useful before or during exercise.

As we know from studies, some substances are very well researched in relation to sports. This is, for example, creatine and beta-alanine. These two substances, which act synergistically, promise improved performance for the following load. This should be reflected, for example, in increased sprint performance, increased strength and stamina. Sounds good for your next match, right?

These drinks should not be seen as boosters, such as products from bodybuilding, which rely on other mechanisms. Creatine, for example, increases the production of ATP in your cells. This is the ultimate energy currency in your body. Very important for sprints!

Not bad, is it? One thing must be mentioned here, however, science rarely agrees. This means that there are also studies that show no improvement by taking these substances. But my experience from practice shows very well an improvement in performance and that is the reason why I continue to recommend it to my athletes.

Of course, you can also make a mix of creatine and beta-alanine yourself and do not have to buy a ready-made, often more expensive product. You can get creatine monohydrate and beta-alanine in almost any sports nutrition store. You can then mix it in water or even better in a juice in the dressing room before exercise and drink it immediately.

And during the training?

What about when you are training very hard and are not on a diet or are at a tournament or match. In this case, it would be smart to help during the load. Carbohydrate drinks or electrolyte drinks are useful here.

At the latest from about 60-70 minutes of training you should work with such drinks in addition to water. Especially if a constant performance level is important to you. The muscle glycogen stores are nearing their end and for top performance your body now needs replenishment. You should consume about 0.7g of fast carbohydrates per kg of body weight per hour. At high loads even more! If the calculation is too complicated for you, you can also use a ready-made product. These usually provide 5-8g carbohydrates per 100 mL of liquid, which is usually sufficient.

If you don't like the ready-made sports drinks, you can of course also resort to good old apple juice (1:1 - juice:water ratio) with a pinch of salt. Apple juice naturally contains a lot of sugar.

But you can also try the latest supplement craze around carbohydrates: cyclic dextrin (or cluster dextrin), casually also a form of sugar, is particularly efficient in the supply during training. Although it is digested quickly in the stomach, it is released into the bloodstream with a delay, thus providing a steady supply of energy. You can simply prepare cyclic dextrin with water in your sports bottle and use it during training. In terms of taste, it is very neutral.

Those who simply want to reduce fat and are not looking for optimal performance can easily exceed this limit without sugar intake.

After training

The most important thing immediately after training is to replenish the glycogen stores in the muscle. The partially emptied stores should be replenished soon. Liquid form is again advantageous here, because it is absorbed more quickly. But if you have already taken care of this before and during training, you can already switch to solid food here. My recommendation here is a starch source such as rice cakes (4-6 pieces) and a fructose source such as bananas or apples. Both are very digestible and easy to transport.

They say you should eat something immediately after exertion, especially in weight training and bodybuilding. I would like to add something to that. Because of the sport activity your body is in the so-called "Fight or Flight" mode and your sympathetic nervous system is active. This means your digestive system is on pause. Solid food is thus more difficult to digest and metabolize. That's why I recommend that you shower and change first, and then eat your first snack in peace. This will give your body some time to rest.

In any case, try to quickly replenish your fluid balance with water after training!

And of course I come here to the much discussed protein intake after training. There is often talk of an anabolic window, i.e. a short period after training where the body and its cells almost crave protein. Well, even though our body is happy about protein after training and this is also essential for building and repair processes, this window is much bigger. It is sufficient if you come home after training and treat yourself to a proper meal within two hours.

Don't forget, you already had the first supply with the snack in the dressing room. And if you want to be on the safe side or simply find it delicious, then you can combine the snack of course with a protein shake. For me understandable is of course that professional bodybuilders see this as a must, because it is about every gram of muscle.

But what is a proper meal?

Maintain a balanced diet in everyday life. Balanced means consuming a wide variety of foods and placing special emphasis on fish, meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. For grains, I focus on rice and buckwheat.

Everything else is allowed, of course, but this is where I would put the emphasis.

Amateur athletes are recommended to consume about 1- 1.6g protein per kg body weight daily. With intense muscular load such as strength training and Sprint it can also be more. It is recommended that you split your protein intake into 4-6 servings to ensure maximum protein synthesis. This includes your snacks. Remember, every meal should contain protein. This includes, for example, meat, eggs, legumes, etc.

Carbohydrates should make up about 40-55% of your caloric intake as an athlete, which is about 3-8g/kg of body weight daily. The harder you train, the more you need. This is especially true for fast-paced sports like Soccer or martial arts. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), for example, recommends an absolute intake of 6-10 g/kg body weight for athletes. For a 75 kg athlete, this would be between 450-750 g of carbohydrates per day.

On recovery days, the carbohydrate intake can also be slightly higher. The sources should always be high quality! Rice, buckwheat, sweet potato, vegetables and fruit. This way you guarantee an optimal supply of minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

And fats should make up about 25-35%. Fats are important for our body, especially omega 3 fats, which you can find in fish. But also high quality oils like olive oil or the fat from avocados provide many important nutrients for your metabolism.

With every main meal you can ask yourself, do I have all three macronutrients on my plate? So carbohydrates, fats and protein? Then you are already on the right track!

I hope this article was helpful for you! Leave a comment below, I'm looking forward to your feedback.

Your Performance Coach
Richard Staudner


Richard Staudner

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