Whether you take part in a marathon once a year, enjoy cycling in your spare time or you are a semi-professional or professional athlete, we are all looking to get the most out of what we do. Obviously, training is the best way to improve your strength, stamina and performance but we are going to look at how you prepare your body to get the most out of those training sessions. Your body is a machine and it needs to be fuelled in order to the function to the best of its ability, at its most basic level this is from food and water but if you drill down more you’ll see how vitamins, minerals and supplements play a key role as well.
Hydration & Electrolytes
This is probably the most important part, particularly when you are performing/competing. Hydrating yourself well enough will give your far more energy and make you be able to perform for longer. Hydration starts way before you actually compete, if you are training regularly you should be keeping your body constantly topped up with water, how much depends on the temperatures you are training in but around 2 litres of water per day is the benchmark for the average person. The best thing to do is look at your urine, if it running clear when you go to the toilet then you are well hydrated and you should aim to keep at this level at all times. When you are exercising or training your body will require more water because of the amount it sweats out but drinking too much whilst you are competing can lead to sluggishness and bloating which negatively affects performance, this is why ensuring you are well enough hydrated before you start is key.
The more water you drink, particularly in hot conditions, the more salts and electrolytes your body loses because they get diluted by the water. Things like potassium are essential to your body which is why you’ll often see tennis players eating bananas at the end of a set. Electrolytes come in sports drinks like Lucozade as well as in sachets that can be emptied in to your water.
Diet & Supplements
The other main area to focus on is your diet, you want to be eating high protein foods to aid with muscle recovery and muscle growth as well as aiming to get as much of your vitamins and minerals as possible through your food by having varied fruit and vegetables. It isn’t always possible to get it all through your diet so supplements are frequently used as well. One of the key ones when it comes to athletic performance magnesium, Magnesium Glycinate are great to take as they do have a big impact on the body.
Remember that you should be eating different things at different times, so when you are in day to day training, protein, vegetables and a small amount of carbs to give you the energy are perfect. Then when it comes to game day it’s best to carb load and take on more of them before you compete, this will give you an extra boost of energy.