Nutritional Advice

Tips from Bourn Golf and Leisure

Bourn Health and Fitness Club

Everyone has heard about ‘balanced diets’ and have been told they need to get their ‘five a day’ but it never really goes any further than this for exercise nutrition. Nutrition is a key element in life, especially when preparing for or participating in exercise activities. Carbohydrates are commonly misconstrued as a negative aspect of food often leading people to try ‘no carb’ diets. However this is not the case, during physical activity carbohydrates are imperative as they are your main source of energy appearing in the form of glucose and glycogen.

There are two types of carbohydrates; simple carbohydrates, also known as monosaccharides and disaccharides and complex carbohydrates known as polysaccharides. The simple carbohydrates include glucose, fructose and galactose which are identified as sugars. Glucose and fructose are commonly found in sweet foods such as syrups, honey and fruits. The complex carbohydrates consist of glycogen, starch and fibre as the essential polysaccharides. Complex carbohydrates are predominantly found in seeds, vegetables and whole grain seeds such as bread, pasta and wheat.

During exercise ATP and glycogen stores are depleted and therefore need replenishing to allow the body to get back to its optimum. For that reason it is crucial you eat appropriately post workout as well as pre workout. The simplest way of consuming suitable foods for pre and post workout is by using the Glycaemic Index (GI). The glycaemic index was devised to show the foods ability to contribute glucose to the blood stream. It ranks carbohydrates from 0 to 100, and foods that don’t contain carbohydrates are not listed on the glycaemic index.

Foods which take longer to contribute glucose to the blood stream have a lower GI and are therefore known as ‘low GI foods’. Examples of these are pasta, bread and potatoes. Conversely, the glucose of foods which are more readily subsidised into the blood stream are known as ‘high GI foods’. Examples of these are sugars, sweets and cakes. A common presumption is that the GI rank is determined by whether the food is a complex or simple carbohydrate however this is not the case, although it is a factor considered when ranking a food, it is not the primary identification used in the glycaemic index. For example simple sugars and carbohydrates will have a higher GI than complex carbohydrates, however there will be discrepancies between the different types of sugars i.e. maltose, fructose and galactose will all have varying GI values.

You can now use your knowledge of the glycaemic index to prepare yourself a pre and post Bourn to Run meal consisting of healthy, nutritious foods allowing you to perform at your optimum on the day. As it is a morning run, you can plan ahead and have a dinner full of low GI foods to keep you topped up so that in the morning you will only need a small breakfast to ensure you don’t suffer from that hunger feeling.

Here are a few meal ideas:

Dinner

  • Zucchini with garlic mushrooms, butter beans and peas
  • Chicken breast fillet seasoned with paprika served with sweet potato fries slowly roasted in    coconut oil or flaxseed oil and a side of baby spinach.

Breakfast

  • Porridge with dried fruit sprinkled over it and a glass of fruit juice.
  • Granola and natural yoghurt served with dried cranberries and a glass of fruit juice