In Sports Nutrition you tend to find the advice is ‘little and often’. Whether that’s sipping your drink to rehydrate or your protein intake to aid recovery, going big isn’t always better.
And this got us thinking in the OTE office, that actually making small, achievable changes is better than overreaching and never achieving your end goal.
So, with that in mind here are 5 simple changes that could make your 2020 that little bit better.
Simple Change: Drink more fluid.
As a very minimum we should try to consume 1.5L of fluid a day; this before we even get sweaty doing any exercise. Are you doing that?
When you consider that over two thirds of our body is made up of water it is perhaps easier to understand the importance of grabbing a drink. Sporting performance aside, dehydration can negatively affect our mental performance and our mood! So from neglecting your fluid, you could endure a bad day at work, where you just can’t concentrate, then go home to under perform in your evening training session too! Anyone relate?
It’s an easy fix. Get yourself a reusable bottle, fill it up at the beginning of everyday and where possible keep it with you in sight at arms reach. You’ll sip without even realising. And every time it’s empty, just fill it up straight away. Try adding an OTE Hydro Tab to up your electrolyte intake, as this helps to aid rehydration.
Simple Change: Think about your gut health.
We wouldn’t blame you if this is something that has never crossed your mind before, but the gut health of an athlete is critical. When we’re exercise, our gut has to take a back seat whilst our cardiac and respiratory system utilise our blood flow. It’s not wonder really that we can often get stomach upset when pushing our body to its limits. And when you don’t consider the foods your sending to your gut, it doesn’t help the cause. It’s for this exact reason we design our products to be kind on the stomach. In fact did you know our Energy Drink has the same neutral pH as water, helping you to avoid acidity.
It is not only during exercise that our gut needs to be considered. It is actually key to our immune system, regulating inflammation and also it’s the key place our food is turned into energy; look after it and it will look after you.
Diet can play a huge role in regulation of gut health. Don’t be alarmed, but our gut is home to billions of bacteria but they that aren’t all bad. The food you eat also helps to regulate them. You may have heard of prebiotics and probiotics?
Prebiotic foods feed our existing ‘good’ gut bacteria. Examples of these foods are vegetables and wholegrains. Probiotics actually contain live bacteria thought to be beneficial to us. These often come in the form of supplements but are also found in things like live yoghurt too.
Did you know our Super Greens Supplement has been designed to alkalise and help maintain a healthy gut.
So maybe in 2020 it’s worth consider your food choices to help be kind on your gut.
Simple Change: Don’t be afraid to snack.
Many athletes believe snacking is bad, and this really isn’t the case! Adding healthy snacking to your day is vital to keep energy and metabolism consistent. Whether you are trying to maintain, lose or gain weight, getting your snacking right around your meals and training can help. It can often be the case that if you let yourself get so ravenously hungry, you’ll actually end up over compensating and eating more in the long run.
Lets not confuse a ‘snack’ with a ‘treat’, this is often where it goes wrong. Snack choices need to be healthy and functional if you want them to contribute to fuelling your sport, improving muscle recovery, managing weight and boosting mental performance.
Some simple snack examples:
One important thing that helps with healthy snacking is…planning. Just take a few minutes before your shopping trip to consider your snacking for the next week. Aim for 2-4 small snacks a day depending on your activity load.
Simple Change: Stretch More!
Not nutrition related we know, but all these little things are part of the jigsaw that makes up an athlete. There is often one of us in the OTE office complaining about sore legs, tight back or maybe a small knee niggle. As much as exercise is good for you, it can all too often feel like it’s breaking you as well! Adding in 10-20 minutes of stretching every day could help keep you in a better condition around all your exercise. Sadly just one big stretching session won’t make a big change, this needs to be a long term change.
Stretching keeps our muscles flexible, strong, healthy, and together this helps maintain a range of motion in the joints. If you avoid stretching the muscles shorten and become tight. Then when it comes to exercising, our muscles simply can’t perform to the best of their ability putting us at risk of pains, strains, and muscle damage.
Sitting at a desk all day isn’t great for you either and can lead to tight hamstrings and lower back. The jumping straight into a training session after work with tight muscles can potentially lead to injury. How about allocating some of your evening to having a quick stretch and see how you feel after a few weeks.
Strength & Condition sessions could be another area of improvement in 2020, check out our YouTube tutorial video here.
Simple Change: Say NO to under fuelling.
Our six years working along side all levels of athletes has taught us one thing…most people tend to under fuel when training. Yes, it might be hard to believe it but sometimes the best athletes in the world do get fuelling wrong. In fact at the highest level of endurance sport it’s rarely lack of training that will mean an athlete will have a bad day, but more likely something simple like a wrong or messed up nutrition strategy. Fuelling won’t make you (win), but it will break you if ignored.
We can understand why most people tend to not eat much when training. Yeah you might have once got round a 4 hour ride on a espresso and a banana, and you didn’t feel too bad doing it. But…
Consider this. Text book would say optimal fuelling would be consuming 60g of carbohydrates every hour during moderate to intense exercise. So over a 4 hour ride, in OTE product terms, that would look like:
Now if you think that seems like a lot, a rider in the Tour de France will consume 80-90g of carbohydrates per hour every day for three weeks!
Lets be clear here, it’s not necessary to optimally fuel every training session. Also anything under 90 minutes, your body should have enough carbohydrate stores to cope with this. But if you’re sat here thinking “maybe i don’t eat enough when I’m training”, next time you go for a long ride or run, why not take an extra banana, energy bar or gel and just see how you feel. And if it’s better, then keep it up for 2020 and beyond!
At the end of the day, it’s hard to argue with science. And in it’s simplest form, science says we need fuel to function.
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