Nutrition for optimum athlete workouts

‘The Essentials’

‘A good diet can’t make an average athlete great, but a poor diet can make a great athlete average’ D. Costill (1994).

Here are some recommended foods to eat in order to fuel your workout optimally. Remember that you will only be able to train and perform at your maximum if you are fuelled to do so.

For fat loss gains try to workout on an empty stomach, or make sure that you have digested at least a small meal 2-3 hours before.

Remember that if the body’s gas tank is empty your muscles will not produce the required power and will turn to fat for a fuel rather than carbohydrate, as a result be aware that your technique may be affected.

Try some of these foods only to fuel your workouts

Breakfast

Whole Wheat Cereals/ Muesli

Toast

Muffins

Oatmeal/Porridge

Low Fat Yoghurt

Milk

Cereal Bars

Teacake/current bun

Fresh Fruit (banana, orange, apple, peach, plum etc)

Eggs on Toast

Beans

Protein Shake

Pancakes


Lunch or Evening Meal

Try to include a balanced mix of the suggested foodstuffs below

Complex Carbohydrates

Pasta (Brown if possible)

Potatoes (boiled, baked, mashed)

Sweet Potato

Bread (brown, whole wheat or rye)

Rice (brown if possible)

Noodles

Beans

Couscous


Fibrous Fresh Vegetables

Broccoli

Sweet Potatoes

Cauliflower

Cabbage

Brussels Sprouts

Sweet corn

Peas

Carrots

Parsnips

Yams

Courgettes

Marrow

Green Beans

Onions

Garlic

Shallots

Legumes

Beans (Kidney, Borlotti, Butter, Broad)

Peanuts

Lentils

Chick Peas

Soy Beans

Fungi e.g. Mushrooms


Salads

Lettuce

Peppers

Tomato

Cucumber

Celery

Water Cress

Radish

Spring Onion

Red Onion

Protein (Lean)

Extra lean beef/minced beef

Eggs

Chicken

Turkey

Fish e.g. Cod, Plaice, Haddock, Bass etc

Oily fish e.g. Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines, Trout

Game meat – Venison, Pheasant, Partridge etc

Sea and shellfish e.g. mussels, prawns, crab, lobster, squid, snapper, tuna, sea bass, monkfish, sole, snapper

Whey Protein

Milk

Low fat cheeses e.g. cottage cheese

Fats/Oils

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Cold Pressed)

Canola Oil (Cold Pressed)

Coconut Oil

Natural Butter

Flaxseed Oil

NEVER use vegetable oils, hydrogenated or reheated oils, margarines a more than anything trans-fats (found in fast foods and many supposed ‘low fat’ and ‘cholesterol reducing’ spreads)

Here are some examples of pre workout, or between meal ‘top up’ snacks (1-2 hrs before your workout)

Suggested Mid Morning Snacks

Fresh Fruit

Dried Fruits

Fruit Smoothie

Whole Wheat Cereal

Cereal/Energy Bar

Yoghurt

Energy Drink

Protein Shake

Nuts (Unsalted)

Toast, or muffin, with jam/marmalade/peanut butter etc

Teacakes

Rice pudding

Water/light diluted squash

Here are some examples of pre workout meals (3-4 hrs before any strenuous workout)

Baked potatoes (with beans, sweet corn, chilli etc)

Pasta based meals e.g. Spaghetti Bolognese

Baked beans, eggs or cheese on toast

Tuna and sweet corn pasta bake

Curry or chilli with rice

Here are some examples of simple and complex carbohydrates. Remember that we should really be taking on mainly fibrous carbohydrates, some complex carbohydrates and limiting/minimising our intake of simple carbohydrates

High in simple carbohydrates

High in complex carbohydrates

  • Sugar (white/brown)
  • Jam, honey, marmalade etc
  • Most boxed cereals
  • Tinned fruits
  • Yoghurt
  • Fromage frais
  • Ice cream
  • Jelly
  • Sweets/chocolates
  • Biscuits
  • Cakes
  • Soft drinks
  • Bread (brown/whole wheat)
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Oats/porridge
  • Breakfast cereals (whole wheat only)
  • Pulses (beans/lentils/ peas)
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Sweet corn

These foods, snacks and meals can be used as a guide around which your nutrition plan can be based.

As a reminder try to keep your intake of complex carbohydrates moderate and maximise your fibrous intake, these will give you your sustained energy. Keep your fat content moderate, increase your lean protein intake and fresh fruits plentiful.