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Is nutrient intake important before or after training?

Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Keys for Athletes. One of the most common questions I receive is about food intake before or after a workout. The answer is not straightforward; it depends on factors such as:

  • Starting point
  • Physical condition
  • Duration of training
  • Training history
  • Training intensity and quantity per week
  • Gender
  • Time and context for each person
  • Individual hunger, appetite, or tolerance

As you can see, there are many aspects to consider.

I'll focus on what you do need to know, as it applies to everyone and is what makes the intake before or after a workout important.

After a workout of a certain intensity and muscle involvement, three factors are affected:

  • Muscular Glycogen.
  • Muscle Fiber Breakdown.
  • Loss of Micronutrients and Fluid.

It is in our hands to compensate for these effects. We can achieve this compensation by ensuring the following contributions:

  1. Carbohydrate Intake: Foods like sweet potatoes, oat flour, rice, whole grain bread, or fruit juices.
  2. Protein Intake: Animal proteins: meat, fish, seafood, eggs (provide all essential amino acids). Plant proteins: legumes, heura, tempeh, tofu, textured soy protein, seitan.
  3. Antioxidant Intake: Berries, turmeric, fruits, portions of vegetables, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds.

Here are some examples to have everything needed in a single intake:

  1. Sweet potato with cottage cheese and berries.
  2. Oat porridge with whey protein, raisins, and chia seeds.
  3. Potato omelette with tomato salad and pumpkin seeds.

The quantities and proportions will depend on each person's situation and condition. A crucial point to consider is that if there is a certain intensity or daily load, and adaptations to training are not done correctly, symptoms of chronic fatigue may appear.

In my course "Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Keys for Athletes" on Vibliotec, I propose and detail the method that has proven to be most effective when an athlete (amateur or professional) needs to decide what to eat to ensure optimal performance based on the load they are experiencing in that period.

This method, impossible to convey here in a brief article, teaches us to combine the necessary proportions (optimal intake) based on the daily intensity or load of training or competition in a simple and intuitive way, without having to rely on a weekly menu chart.

Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Keys for Athletes.

Leticia Bravo

Sports Nutritionist

Teacher at www.vibliotec.org