Avoid muscle fatigue and feeling depleted during your workouts by nourishing your body properly for exercise. If you focus on a few important areas of nutrition, hydration and timings, there’ll be no stopping you!
In this article we'll tell you about natural foods to support your exercise regime. No bright blue drinks or sweetened, additive-filled products here!
Power up with Protein
Exercise strains our muscles and protein from the diet is needed to recover, rebuild and strengthen. Eating enough protein with your main meals is the first place to start, this means foods like meat, fish, seafood, eggs, yoghurt, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds and beans. Protein powders with frightening sounding names about building mass are not necessarily the best choice. Choose carefully, simple blends that contain pure whey protein, pure rice protein, hemp seed protein or pea protein are fantastic for giving your post workout shake a boost. Organic Burst Spirulina is another fantastic choice because it is 60-70% protein, which is four times more absorbable than the protein found beef, in fact IIMSAM states that "Spirulina is the most digestible protein food”.
Avoid protein powders full of scary ingredients. Spirulina is two thirds rapidly digested protein!
Iron is an essential part of our red blood cells, which transport oxygen around the body. This means it helps us produce energy in our muscles. Lots of exercise means you use up your stores more quickly, so active people can get depleted. Eat more meat, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, dried apricots, dates. If you're thinking about supplementing iron, be aware that the commonly used iron tablets are often hard to digest and can cause digestive side effects. Increasing your iron levels with superfoods is a clever way to get more but without the side effects or issues with absorption. How to do it:
- Organic Burst Spirulina contains 58 times the iron of raw spinach! Take that Popeye!
- Include spirulina pre and post workout - 1 teaspoon in water with a big squeeze of lemon one hour before working out, then take the same dose straight after exercise – you can include it in a shake with some natural protein (see above), or blend with ½ a banana and milk alternative such as oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk for the perfect way to recover and replenish iron stores.
For high energy levels, the traditional thinking of athletes has been that carbohydrates are the best providers. Current research now tells us that carbs are indeed the fastest source of energy, but this is really only relevant if you’re running a sprint. If your workout is going to last longer than a short burst, then fat is where it’s at for the highest amount of energy. Here’s how to do it:
- Reduce the starchy carbohydrates in your diet (pasta, bread, rice, pastries), cutting right down on these is the best way to retrain your metabolism to use fats instead.
- Include plenty of natural fats (from meat, eggs, fish, avocados, nuts, coconut milk, full fat natural yoghurt).
- Eat some coconut oil every day, this amazing fat contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are easily digested and sent straight to the liver to be used as energy.
Fats give better energy for endurance sports than carbs, try coconut oil before a workout!
Supercharge with Maca
As an additional boost before a big workout, try some Organic Burst Maca that morning. Maca root is also known as Peruvian Ginseng, and we’ve heard that the Inca warriors ate maca before going into battle to increase their strength and stamina! And if you prefer to be convinced by modern science, many studies have found that maca strengthens the body and helps maintain stamina and endurance. Add a spoonful to your smoothie, porridge or add to a pre-workout shake for a super start to the day.
Acai Berry Burst
Organic Burst Acai Berry contains high levels of polyphenols which give it a phenomenal ORAC score of 70,000 (3x higher than goji and 10x higher than blueberries). In sports nutrition, antioxidants are included to counteract the extra free radicals that are produced in strenuous exercise. Keep a bottle of acai in your gym bag and take 4-8 capsules with your post-workout snack. Or alternatively you can open the capsules and tip out the pure berry powder into your smoothie.
A Pinch of Salt
Electrolytes are mineral salts, including sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium that are dissolved in our blood and fluid. They affect muscle function and balance fluid levels. It is important to keep levels balanced when it comes to sport, because salts and fluid are lost when you’re sweating and panting! Ways to do it:
- Add ½ a teaspoon of natural sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to a bottle of water and some freshly pressed juice and drink after a workout.
- Grab a bottle of coconut water after the gym, which is hydrating and also contains electrolyte minerals.
- Take a bath with Epsom Salts or magnesium flakes – your body can absorb minerals through the skin too!
It’s all about timings
You may be thinking ‘this is all great but what’s the best thing to eat before and after working out?’ Not to dodge the question, but everyone is different, and a lot depends on your own goals and the type of workout you’re doing. Here are some pointers:
Pre-cardio – a small green juice or a piece of fruit is all you need, and have this half an hour or an hour before you get going. If your aim is weight loss, and you are used to exercise (i.e. please don’t do this if you think you’ll keel over) then you can run on an empty stomach and force your body to metabolise your energy stores - this gets really fantastic results!
Post-cardio – your body is looking to replace it's sugar stores, so this is the one time of the day when you will be able to process sugars much better (hurrah), so it's fine to eat or drink something sweet like fruit, dates, or a shake with a squeeze of runny honey if you fancy! Have your shake or snack within 45 mins of finishing your workout if possible. For the rest of the day, follow some of the tips for replenishing electrolytes above, and a teaspoon of Organic Burst Spirulina powder will give you protein, needed for muscle recovery.
Pre-strength workout – power through your strength workout with some easily digestible protein and fats. Blend together a handful of spinach, a teaspoon of Organic Burst Spirulina, a teaspoon of coconut oil, ½ an avocado or ½ a banana for sweetness with a cup of water and drink an hour before your workout.
Post-strength workout – your muscles will need some TLC, so ensure you are eating something containing protein.
Post-cardio workout, your body needs to replenish, so have a shake or snack within 45mins.