Work out where you are to start
Casual – 1-4 movement sessions a week, a combination of walking / gym / group fitness. General health and fitness.
Serious – 4+ sessions a week – generally training for an event and have a plan in place.
Elite – Competition based / professional athlete.
For the purposes of this presentation we will focus on the casual and serious athletes as most of the population would be in this category. (If you are an elite athlete there are often more specific recommendations that will be individualised for you to get the most out of your training.)
With many products in the marketplace all with their specific features, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to supplementing. Often people are confused about what their body is looking for and the best way to obtain these nutrients.
Key questions to consider:
# 1 Do I need to eat anything before I exercise:
For sessions less than 60 minutes of mild-moderate intensity exercise (30 minutes of high intensity), there is no need to take on additional nutrition (pre workout snacks). The body has enough of a store of glycogen (the fuel for your muscles) in order to move for that length of time.
For sessions that are longer than that, the needs will vary based on what type of exercise you are doing and the length of time that you plan to exercise (eg. long runs / competition style sports).
# 2 What our body is looking for in the post workout stage:
There are 2 key windows to be aware of and take advantage of in order to get the most out of your exercise.
30 minutes post exercise:
In this stage the body is looking to replace the glycogen that has been used during exercise and is looking to refill the muscle stores in this space. If this does not occur your body will break down muscle in order to convert this across to glucose.
A small snack is all that is required to get your body through this stage – a piece of fruit / 1-2 bliss balls.
90 minutes post exercise:
Supplying your body with the building blocks for the rest of the day is the aim in this setting. A balanced meal is one that combines some form of protein (animal meats / tofu / legumes / eggs) is a key focus point of this meal. The rest of the composition of what to have on your plate here depends on your goals of what you are trying to achieve (fat loss / muscle gain etc).
# 3 The most important factor in building muscle mass:
This might surprise you, it is sleep! The majority of our muscle growth happens while we sleep, this is where our natural growth hormones come into play. This means that if you are doing a lot of exercise and your sleep function is not good you will ultimately struggle to gain muscle mass.
Provided that you have all of the amino acid building blocks during the day you will be able to develop muscle mass. Unless you are doing a high volume of training there is no need for additional supplementation with powders.
# 4 What is the best way to track your results?
Often when it comes to exercise, we feel as though we put in a lot of work before we see any tangible effect. Our body is changing its composition all the time and keeping track of this is a great way to keep on track on stay motivated.
It is common to notice that general energy levels improve, your sleep improves and clothes fit a little better before you notice any change with the number on the scales.
Cacao chickpea brownies
Cooking time: 25 minutes
· 3 eggs
· 1/3 cup melted ghee
· 200g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
· 3 Tablespoons Soy milk
· ½ cup unsweetened cacao
· ½ teaspoon baking powder
· ½ cup rapadura sugar / coconut sugar
· 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· Preheat oven to 175 c degrees.
· Put eggs and ghee in the blender and mix for 10 seconds.
· Add remaining ingredients into the blender and process until smooth.
· Spray 20 x 20 cm pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35 minutes*, or until brownies are just pulling away from edges of the pan.
· Cool, cut and serve.
*Keep an eye on them after 30 minutes as oven temps can vary.