The warmer weather and lighter evenings might make us more likely to be active, but have you thought about the impact of sweating in the summer?
Registered Nutritionist, Jenna Hope, has offered her top tips on fuelling the body for a summer workout. This is really important when you consider the hot weather puts extra strain on our bodies so it’s important to know your limits, and most importantly, fuel your body effectively.
“Eating before a workout is vital for supporting the increased energy demands of a workout. Fuelling up before an exercise session can help to provide extra micronutrients to support energy, muscular function and oxygen supply,” Jenna explained.
“Working out without adequate fuel in the tank can increase the risk of symptoms such as nausea, lethargy, light-headedness and faintness due to a lack of energy required to see you through the workout. All of these symptoms become heightened once heat is added to the mix.”
To support those who are looking for ways to exercise safely in the sunshine, Jenna answered some key questions:
• What’s the optimum time to fuel a workout? If you’re gearing up for a big workout (for example, anything more intense than a yoga class or a walk) then it’s recommended to consume a protein and carbohydrate-rich meal around three to four hours ahead of the session with a light snack about an hour before your workout. If you train first thing in the morning, a small carbohydrate-rich snack can help to support the session.
• What foods are best for fuelling a workout? Fuelling up on protein and carbohydrates is important to provide energy and to support muscle repair and recovery. Beetroot is a brilliant pre-workout fuel as it contains
both macronutrients. The carbohydrates are converted into glucose in the body, which is then used to produce ATP. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the body’s primary fuel source which helps to power our workouts.
• What other benefits does beetroot provide during a workout? Beetroot contains key electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and calcium. During workouts, these are lost through sweat. They play an important role in maintaining fluid balance in the body, and consequently, loading up on them beforehand can help support fluid balance. It also contains iron, which is important for helping transport oxygen around the body, and nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide causes vasodilation and increased blood flow at rest and during exercise. As a result, some evidence suggests nitric oxide can help to increase oxygen, glucose and nutrient delivery to the working muscles.
• What other factors should be taken into consideration ahead of a workout in the sunshine? Alongside meals and snacking, it’s important to be aware of your water and fluid intake. Staying hydrated ahead of your session is important for supporting energy, transporting nutrients and regulating body temperature. Entering a workout in a dehydrated state can leave you feeling lethargic, which may cause you to underperform. Additionally, as we’re heading into the summer months, working out in the heat can lead to increased sweating and therefore greater water and electrolyte losses. As a result, it’s even more crucial to stay on top of your hydration and to drink response to thirst.