Evening Refuelling

If you train in the evening, Liam Holmes, our resident there are some areas that you need to focus on with regards to your nutrition and your sleep:

There is research out there that suggests the time of day you train can have a big impact on the physiological responses to your session. In my opinion it comes down to just getting your session done! Here is some advice to help you structure your nutrition for evening training and recovery.

FUELLING THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Whether your training starts at 6pm or 9pm you have to ensure that you are fuelled adequately for the session. Too often I see athletes that will eat lunch at 1pm and then not eat again until after the session or grab something on route to training. Regardless of your training stimulus you need to be fuelling your body by providing enough calories over the whole day. Remember you are providing your body energy for work not just training.

Having a mid afternoon “mini-meal” will help you in three ways:

  • It will provide calories to support your evening training session.
  • It can help to prevent that energy slump mid afternoon or early evening.
  • It will support your recovery and help sleep (more on this later).

What you choose to have for your mini meal depends on your personal goals, training type and volume. But some meals I suggest to the athletes I work with:

The reasoning behind a mini meal is it will combat over-snacking, which often doesn’t leave you full enough (which in turn causes more snacking).

REFUELLING CORRECTLY

Ever struggled to get to sleep after an evening training session? Laying in bed wide awake is not good for any athletes recovery. Luckily there are specific foods and nutrients can balance hormones and neurotransmitters that have been either elevated or suppressed during any evening exercise.

Boosting melatonin, serotonin and growth hormone levels will help to induce a nice healthy sleep and kick-start your recovery. If you get your nutrition on point you can take advantage of this spike in growth hormone to maximise your recovery.

Foods that will help you achieve this include carbohydrates. Yep that’s right I said it – eat carbs in the evening! Why? After exercise your body is primed to absorb carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. This is absolutely essential if you are training or competing the next day. For those of you thinking about training low or metabolic flexibility I will be writing an article on these very soon.

Carbohydrates will also lower cortisol levels due to insulin secretion. The consumption of certain foods that increase the availability of tryptophan, alongside synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, will also aid in promoting sleep.

Eating some protein containing Omega-3 fatty acids is also recommended. I don’t need to tell you the importance of protein for muscle repair, but eating quality protein in the evening can also increase your serotonin levels. The very last thing you want to be doing is eating foods that heighten the inflammatory response. Foods that are deep-fried or high in refined sugar should not even be on your radar.

Here are some recipe ideas that I always suggest, that help induce healthy sleep:

7 Reasons Diets Don’t Work

When we hear the word diet we often think of food deprivation, bland meals and unpleasant periods of semi-starvation. Thinking like this is completely wrong as a diet does not have to mean any of the above. Let us teach you how you can replace this way of thinking with a sustainable long-term healthy eating plan allowing you to eat normal foods without restricting yourself and learn the reasons why diets do not work.

BIOCHEMICAL INDIVIDUALITY:

DON’T FOLLOW SOMEONES ELSES PLAN – EVOLVE YOUR OWN

There are many fad diets out there and each is said to be able to help every single one of us, but what they do not take into consideration is how we are all physiologically different and how all of our bodies need different foods and requirements. This may explain how you and your friend have both been following the same diet but she has managed to loose 10lbs and you only 2lbs.

DEPRIVATION:

When a calorie restricted diet is followed over a prolonged period of time your body will go into famine mode and start to hold onto the calories that you eat and the stored body fat. It can even start eating into its own muscles for fuel (becoming catabolic). Chronic under eating tends to lead to binge eating and feeling bloated. Bloating often happens after a binge eating session as your body has consumed foods it is not used to, alongside the increase in volume. Shocking the body like this is not sustainable.

NOT SUSTAINABLE:

A diet is often perceived as a quick fix and something you can dip in and out of when you want to lose weight for a certain event or time of year. Ultimately most people think that these diets are unsustainable as they are not suitable to be followed over a prolonged period of time. The most efficient change you can make is in experimenting and finding out what will work for you, eliminating any foods that cause you irritation and monitoring your calories in and calories out. Be sure to add in lots of protein, good fats, vegetables and salad. Don’t forget that you can also have treats, but in moderation.

Don’t turn your treat into a daily habit – it is not a treat then!

DIET FOODS:

EAT PROPER FOOD!!

Many of us have to come think that “diet foods” are the best and most effective way to lose weight. In fact they may even be hindering your weight loss progress as these low fat, fat free products are all highly refined and processed containing virtually no nutrients whatsoever, so aim to avoid these wherever possible.

WEIGHT GAIN:

The cycle of deprivation and binge eating mentioned earlier can lead to weight gain and not weight loss, so you could become your own worst enemy. The most effective way to find a sustainable plan is to find real foods that are nutrient dense helping to keep you fuller for longer and aiding your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function.

PROMOTE UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD:

Following a calorie-restricted diet and depriving yourself of foods which you deem to be bad can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, leading to cycles of deprivation and binge eating. The most important point to take on board here is to focus on eating good fats, proteins and vegetables allowing nutrient dense foods to nourish your body, helping you to build a good relationship with proper food.

DAMAGE METABOLISM:

When restricting calories your body will become stressed and an unfavourable hormonal environment can be created. Changes such as raised cortisol levels, thyroid dysfunction, impaired detoxification and altered energy production can make it much more difficult for you to burn fat and lose weight.

Using functional medicine testing  you can identify where and what is affecting your metabolism.

IN CONCLUSION

For all of the reasons above it is suggested that following a “diet” is not the best way to lose weight and become healthy, in fact following a sustainable life-long healthy eating programme is.

Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

Can you have your Turkey & Trimmings and Eat it?

Ahhhh the festive season. Mulled wine, chocolates, work nights out with half a tonne of mini burgers, it can all be too much. Here is some advice on how to manage your nutrition during this period.

Manage your excess.

Don’t let one purple quality street turn into an empty box. It is fine to be a little more relaxed with your nutrition but you need to employ a smidgen of self-control. If you know you are going to have a big feast or a big night out then be disciplined in the time leading up to this. Get in credit which will enable you to fully enjoy the event!

You can also be smart when knowing there is potential to eat off plan. Lower your calories over the day so you can indulge slightly at a social event. HOWEVER MAKING DRASTIC CHANGES SUCH AS ONLY EATING 400 CALORIES OVER THE DAY SO YOU CAN EAT 1500 AT DINNER IS NOT ADVISED!

Do some glycogen depleting training.

Training with high intensity and volume will deplete muscle glycogen levels. You can then increase carbohydrate intake (helloooo roasties!). Depleting muscle glycogen will ensure that the majority of the carbs you are eating will be used to replenish your energy stores opposed to being stored as body fat.

Eat protein and fat first.

Can you have your Turkey & Trimmings and Eat it? Third Space Sports Medicine

How you eat your meals can make a big difference in the way the food is digested and stored in your body. More on this in January.

Fill your plate with veggies, protein, fats and carbs – IN THAT ORDER!

Doing this will reduce the amount of starchy carbs you put on your plate. Pile that turkey high!! Less room for the goose fat potatoes!

Eat before a night out.

Canopies, finger food and set menus. These are the devils for keeping your nutrition on point. Too easy to overeat with minimal nutritional value. The trick? Eat a fibre and protein rich meal before you head out. M & S superfood salad or a homemade mint and avocado chocolate smoothie. This will reduce the urge to mindlessly snack.

Xmas specific supplements.

Supporting the liver (number one priority) and taking certain nutrients to maintain body composition can be extremely helpful. Eating more of these foods can help support liver function.
With most of the patients we work with trying to employ the 80/20 rule is advised. Be on your plan for 80% of the time. 20% you can be more relaxed.