Staying fit takes more than just visiting the gym on a regular basis. You also have to make sure that what you feed your body is healthy, and this is where sports nutrition can help you.
“Some people think that sports nutrition is some over complicated thing. The reality is sports nutrition is grounded in the same principles as general good healthy nutrition,” said leading sports nutritionist Dr. Dana Ryan.
Dr. Ryan is the director for Sports Performance and Education of Herbalife Nutrition. She recently visited the Philippines and shared her take on how sports nutrition can be beneficial to non-athletes.
“Sports nutrition is really about putting the right nutriments in your body at the right time. Whether you’re winning a race or coming in last place, you’re moving your body and your heart rate goes up. You’re using carbohydrates for fuel. When you’re breaking down muscles, you need protein to recover. The principles of sports nutrition becomes important for anyone who’s active,” she explained.
So, how does one incorporate sports nutrition into one’s daily activities? Dr. Ryan shares the following tips.
1. Make sure that you have adequate carbohydrates before you exercise because that’s going to be your body’s fuel source.
“We don’t store a lot of carbohydrates but it’s our first source of energy when we’re exercising,” Dr. Ryan said.
She added that you need to have some simple carbohydrates prior to working out.
“You can get that energy quickly from fruits,” she said.
2. Have some electrolytes when you’re exercising for over half an hour or doing an intense workout.
“When you sweat when you’re exercising, you lose electrolytes in addition to fluids. Drinking water is sometimes not enough. You need electrolytes to stay hydrated,” Dr. Ryan pointed out.
3. Get some good quality protein after you exercise.
“Have at least 20 grams of protein in combination with some carbohydrates,” Dr. Ryan advised.
She emphasized that protein is essential after a workout.
“When you exercise, you break down your muscle fibers. Consuming good protein can help rebuild them and make them stronger,” she said.
Dr. Ryan has a Ph.D. in physical activity, nutrition and wellness from Arizona State and holds a Master’s degree in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport and Exercise Psychology and a certificate in nutrition for optimal health, wellness and performance.