Food and Nutrition

What’s Abd?!!
I’ve always been physically active since young engaging myself in sports and clubs & societies in school. I played soccer for school and club, was in the school athletics team and I even tried my hands in rugby.

Over the years, I’ve had people coming up to me asking me how to lose weight. I’m not exactly sure where to begin because quite frankly, I’ve never got to that stage before where I needed to lose weight quite simply because I had a high metabolic rate as a result of my constant active participation in sports. Nonetheless, I’ve worked on some people and my family members mostly to help them lose weight. So, I’ve decided to blog about this down and break this whole section up into several contents for those who are beginning to lose weight or on track to get fit can understand the physics of it before getting down and dirty to business of losing weight.

The most important factor to the beginning of weight loss is the management of the food that you eat. Sure we all love to eat a lot. I still do! I can eat 8 – 10 prata for breakfast at one go and I still do that!! I regularly eat 2 packets of instant noodles as well. I’m not saying that what I eat is suitable for all but it really depends on your body and only YOU know what’s best for your body.

My entries will only apply to those of you who are training to keep fit and lose weight and therefore may not be relevant to those who are not working out. You may however find this information useful.

Your body needs food as a source of fuel to get you through the day. Muslims like me fast and it’s not that we go on an empty stomach throughout. We eat in the early morning before daybreak and usually we eat food in high carbohydrates so that there’s plenty of energy to last. The same concept applies in working out. The type of exercise that you will be engaging your body should determine the type of food you eat. The more intense your exercise, the more carbohydrate you will need. Therefore, it is essential that you consume a high carbohydrate meal to provide adequate fuel to delay fatigue which will also allow better recovery in between training sessions.

What you eat will affect your performance and the food you choose affects how well you train. If you are intending to train more than one time a day, you have to consistently replenish your muscle glycogen level. This is achieved by eating more carbohydrates. The carbohydrate food consumed the hour before your training session will also help to top up this storage.

It is recommended that you eat 2 – 3 hours before training. However, if solid food does not sit well in your tummy, then eat 4 -5 hours earlier.

During vigorous activities, some of you may have experienced runner’s diarrhea or gastrointestinal upset. This is as a result of reduced blood flow to the gut, dehydration, anxiety as well as injury. To prevent the occurrence of such, take the following steps:

  • Reduce fibre intake and have liquid meals
  • Eat solid food early and have a liquid meal to supplement your body closer to commencement of exercise
  • Avoid eating food that are spicy, excessive amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as food that are high in fat

Some good low fibre food are:

  • Liquid meal supplement
  • Noodles
  • Pasta
  • Plain breakfast cereals
  • Ripe banana with yoghurt
  • Rice porridge with congee
  • Sports drinks
  • White bread

Aside from carbohydrates, proteins are also an essential component to your exercise because protein builds and repairs muscles. However, you do not have to worry too much because if you have already consumed adequate energy intake from a variety of nutrient rich food, your protein intake should have been met.

After talking about food, you now need to know that the weather you are training in, Singapore, is extremely humid and hot and would essentially dehydrate you faster than you could imagine. It is therefore important to be sufficiently hydrated. You could easily lose up to 2 litres of perspiration per hour you know.

On days that you intend to exercise, drink throughout the day. Start your day with a sports drink and supplement it with other beverages throughout the day except for alcohol. Start drinking slightly plenty more 2 -3 hours before your exercise, 500ml would be great and then 250ml about 10 – 20 mins before you begin.

I will not talk too much into what sports drinks contain but they basically contain carbohydrates to provide you with a quick fuel source for your muscles and brains. The importance of drinking sports drinks is to prevent hyponatremia. It’s a rare but dangerous condition characterized by low blood salt level. Now you know why some of your friends like to drink coke with salt huh? Symptoms include headache, disorientation, coma and in severe cases, death.

It is also important not to over-drink or it’ll interfere with good performance. You should not drink more than what your body is comfortable with.

After working out, your body needs to recover. Recovery is often ignored but it is the most important factor because otherwise, your training would have been useless. Use these following tips in recovery:

  • If the period of your workouts is less than 8 hours in between, start carbohydrate intake immediately to maximize recovery time.
  • During early recovery phase, you way wish to snack a lil bit here and there.
  • If its more than 24hours, just have meals and snacks comfortable to you

Your recovery period should also consist of you eating carbohydrate food because your training would have used your muscle glycogen, a small amount of body fat, some protein if you did weight lifting or endurance training and body fluid. I recommend eating:

  • Cereals
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Energy drinks
  • Potatoes
  • Tropical fruits/ juices

My favourite training meal plan is as such:

  • 2 servings of oats with low fat milk for breakfast
  • A glass of fruit juice for breakfast
  • Sips of sports drink in between workouts (15 – 30mins)
  • Energy drink after workout
  • 1 serving of potato with a few slices of bread with tuna

Right now for fasting month, since I’m not working out. I have one serving of oats with 250 ml of full cream milk and a glass of plain water in morning. And to break fast I like to eat 4 slices of bread with tuna and cheese.

I hope this was of some help for those of you who wanted to know more about the right food to eat.

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