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The importance of nutrition when preparing to be competition ready

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Mon, 22 Feb 2021 16:18 GMT

The food we eat and the nutrition we feed our bodies play a vital role in both how we feel, and how effectively we train both on and off the saddle.

In this blog we’ll discuss how to get your day started effectively in preparation for your training, the importance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and how your nutrition contributes to how you train both on and off the saddle.

Getting your day started…

As you’ve probably heard before, your first meal of the day is super important! This is because it helps the body to replenish your blood sugar, which your body needs to provide energy to your muscles and your brain.

If you skip breakfast, it may leave you feeling a little lightheaded or lethargic when you’re working out, which means you'll probably be less effective when working out or training.

Rather than having a carb-heavy breakfast, such as a white bagel or a pastry, so you may be missing a trick.

Tips for a nutritional breakfast:

  • Instead of eating sugary, carb-heavy foods, try swapping for whole-grain or wholemeal options, to incorporate more fibre into your diet.
  • Try to include a protein source in your breakfast, such as yoghurt, chopped nuts or eggs.
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Carbs carbs carbs

Most people think that eating carbs is a bad thing, and has a bad reputation when it comes to eating healthily. However, carbs are your body's main source of energy. If you are actively exercising, around 45%-65% of your total calories should be digested from carbohydrates.

Although carbs are our main source of energy, it’s important to be able to differentiate between simple carbs and complex carbs.

Simple carbs

These are the types of carbohydrates found in sugary, processed foods such as cakes, sweets and chocolate. These foods can make your sugar legels peak, leaving you feeling tired shortly afterwards.

Complex carbs

Consuming complex carbs is extremely important when you are working out and training at home to prepare for getting competition ready. This is because they can help you feel fuller for longer, as they are slow releasing and help to stabilise your blood sugar levels. These include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Wholegrains
  • Beans

Complex carbs also include vital vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body training and working to its optimum during your training sessions.

Protein power

Protein is needed for lots of different reasons, mainly for helping to keep your body growing, maintaining and repairing muscles. This is also important for your muscle recovery after your training sessions.

You can eat protein through lots of different foods including:

  • Poultry (chicken and turkey)
  • Beef, lamb
  • Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel
  • Dairy foods including yoghurt and milk
  • Eggs

Fun fact:

There are 8 vital proteins that our bodies need from the foods we eat. We are able to obtain these from a combination of different foods. However, eggs are one of the few foods that contain ALL eight protein types, giving them brilliant nutritional value!

To help your body thrive and benefit from your training, it’s a good idea to choose lean proteins containing lower amounts of saturated fats such as chicken and turkey.

Choosing your fats wisely

Whilst working hard towards your training goals, fuelling your body with nutritional fats helps with endurance when training for longer periods of time. This is because the energy from healthy fats is stored for when your body needs additional energy. For example, this could be during an intense workout.

You can find healthier fats in nuts, seeds, olives, oils (olive oil) and avocados.

If you found this interesting, check out the health and wellness section on our BD at Home member hub for top training tips and lots more:

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Disclaimer: If you plan to change your diet, please contact a professional nutritionist or doctor for further advice.