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Fuelling for strong and healthy, not weight loss.

Updated: Dec 18, 2023




Recently it was International Women’s Day and I am ALL about celebrating women. What their glorious bodies can do and how STRONG and impressive we can all be, both mentally and physically. To mark the occasion, I wanted to chat about something loosely related because, we, as women, for such a long time, have been told by society that smaller is better in most cases, and we have essentially spent most of our lives fuelling to shrink ourselves.


Well, no more! Let’s chat about fuelling ourselves to perform as optimally as we can in our chosen sporting endeavours.


This doesn’t just apply to women though; a lot of men could learn about fuelling their training from this one too so don’t run away just yet chaps!


Energy

Ladies. We need a certain amount of energy simply to live. Even if we did nothing, we need more on top of that to THRIVE. If we don’t fuel optimally then we begin to slow down, feel sluggish, experience mood changes and generally, in sport and in life, fire on fewer cylinders. Unfortunately, many of us have become so accustomed to eating that way that we don’t actually realise how much better we COULD feel if we could get it right.


We need calories and we need nutrients to repair, recover and perform. It is, however, at this stage, important to remember that we are all very individual so we can’t give out blanket recommendations here and this is certainly not personalised guidance – what works for you, might not work for me and vice versa.


Balance

The energy that you require is based on a number of things including your size, your activity levels, formal training activity and the amount that you just move during the day, your goals, preferences and all manner of things that could potentially be going on under the hood. However, I wanted to air some general guidelines that you might like to think about for around your training.


Pre Workout

Beforehand, unless we are training first thing in the morning (that’s a chat for a different day – let me know if that’s something you would like a little guidance on!), we want to get some fuel on board around about 3 hours before we start to avoid any digestion mishaps. We have all been there and it isn’t a nice place to be! In this one we want to think about carbohydrates and protein as the bulk of our meal – a little bit of dietary fat if you would like. I’m thinking porridge with a banana and some protein powder, jacket potato with tuna and a little salad, pasta and cheese…you know the kinds of things we are talking about here.


Do I need to fuel mid-workout?

Most of us will be okay not fuelling mid-workout but I also know that there are many mega endurance athletes among you, and yes, you are ALL athletes! If we’re looking at activity lasting longer than 90 minutes or so then we will want to start to think about getting some fuel on board mid-workout (this is to start before the 90-minute mark, but again, timings are a little more nuanced and a conversation for another day). At this point we are looking for easy to digest, familiar to you, carbohydrate sources, low in fibre. Delicious and nutritious options away from the usual energy gels include malt loaf, dried fruit, homemade flapjack, bananas, the list goes on.


Post workout

Lastly for today, we need post-workout nutrition to be filled with protein so that those muscles can repair well. When we train, we actually break down our muscles making them weaker – it is when we rest, refuel and recover well that we build back stronger to ultimately, over time, improve on performance. We also need carbohydrates in there to fill those muscles back with glycogen (essentially, energy) and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This might be just water or if it was a particularly sweaty session some electrolytes in your water might be useful. You don’t need to rush to eat but a meal within a couple of hours of your training will be helpful. Some of my favourites include protein porridge and a banana, yoghurt, fruit and granola, a meat or fish source with pasta and veggies. The opportunities really are almost endless here!


Celebrate our differences

And to conclude, as we are marking International Women’s Day, let me leave you with this. We are all different. Some of us are slower, some of us run, some of us lift weights, some of us are stronger, some of us live in lighter bodies, some heavier. Let us see our differences as our strengths! We can celebrate these, be happy for each other, lift each other up, celebrate each other’s wins, help each other to feel fabulous.


We all want to live life feeling loved and feeling fabulous, we all have the same goal in that respect. We are strong women; we are breaking the mould in taking part in excellent sporting endeavours. One day I hope there is no need for a day like International Women’s day, but until then, know that together, we can do hard things!

We are Truesapien!



Anna-Louise Coaching and TrueSapien are partners. Check out their website and new app for a little more about what they do!!


Peace and love, always x

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