The buzzwords in fitness at the moment are protein, protein, and protein!
Protein has its place when it comes to your daily diet and of course it’s essential if you’re training regularly. However, there are 2 very old terms that you can’t neglect and these are hydration, and fibre.
Exercising releases lactic acid into your muscles and this in turn can give you muscle aches and cramps. One of the easiest ways to prevent cramps is to drink plenty of liquids before, during, and after a training session. What’s the best drink to have though? Would it surprise you to learn that’s plain and simple water?
No sugary drinks, no energy gels, nothing carbonated; just water. Gels and energy drinks have their place if you’re participating in long duration/endurance sports, but in the most part water will serve your needs well. For children and adults alike, not only is water best at replenishing anything lost during training, but it’s also best for your teeth. No matter where I am I try to keep at least 1 bottle of water (price) in my bag, with sports bottles on standby in the boot of the car so we don’t get caught out and have to buy them in a corner shop where the minimum price per bottle would be €1 for 500ml.
Protein, hydration, and fibre go hand in hand when it comes to diet. Without a fine balance of the three components, your digestive system will become bound and grind to a halt. That is to say you will become bloated and constipated.
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (and not overcooked) will help you maintain this balance but there are also ways to increase your dietary fibre naturally without too much effort.
- Eat more whole grains. Replace your white bread with brown bread, and swap out plain pasta or rice for the brown varieties.
- What about beans? There are a wide variety of tinned beans on the shelves that are great value and also full of protein (win-win). Add them to your soups and stews along with lentils.
- Prunes! We love the easy-seal bags of Alesto prunes (you’ll find them near the eggs). Believe it or not, eating 5 prunes a day, along with plenty of water will keep you as regular as clockwork. If you don’t like the flavour, try blitzing them into a smoothie or mixing into overnight oats. They are incredibly sweet.
Maintaining a healthy diet is really a delicate process and it’s definitely not as simple as increasing your protein intake when you’re training. So the next time you’re doing your full shop, take a look at your trolley and see have your made sure to include plenty of sources of fibre and water!