By Liane Wansbrough, Holistic Nutritionist

  1. While trail mixes and energy bars are marketed as pre workout snacks, most are sugar bombs that don’t provide lasting energy. Try one to two handfuls of raw nuts or seeds (almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and pumpkin seeds are great choices) and a piece of fresh fruit. If you buy your nuts and seeds in bulk store them in the freezer so they don’t go rancid.
  1. Smoothies make a great pre-workout meal because blending helps pre-digest food, making it easier on your digestive system.
  1. Sweet potatoes are a quality carbohydrate that can be eaten prior to a big workout or training day. Sprinkle a baked sweet potato with sea salt and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or grass-fed butter to enhance absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Other quality carbohydrates include quinoa, wild or brown rice, amaranth, millet, squash, carrots and beets.

  1. Bone broth can heal your digestive system and help with joint pain. It’s easy to make and a great source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids. If you don’t have time to make your own, a good butcher shop will usually have ready-made beef and chicken broth. Drink a cup before or after a workout.
  1. If you are working out for an hour or less you don’t need electrolyte replacement drinks. You need to hydrate by drinking water.
  1. If you are working out 90 minutes or more you can make your own electrolyte replacement drink by combining about 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup with 500 ml of water. Add the juice of about a ¼ of a lemon and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. You can also use coconut water but add a ¼ teaspoon salt to even out the high potassium content.
  1. An anti inflammatory diet is an important dietary consideration for athletes in terms of recovery. Note that excess gluten, sugar and caffeine can all aggravate inflammation.
  1. Convenient anti-inflammatory foods include pineapple, ginger (throw a small chunk into a smoothie) and all blue, red and purple fruits and vegetables. Some other good anti -inflammatory foods include garlic, parsley, dark leafy greens, salmon and avocado.
  1. Active people are often deficient in magnesium because we lose this valuable mineral through sweat. Magnesium supplements are helpful as are topical applications of magnesium with a lotion or spray of pure magnesium chloride.
  1. The recommended daily intake of protein for adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram per day. This is the minimum amount required to meet nutritional needs and too low for both endurance and strength athletes. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day for endurance athletes and 1.6-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day for strength athletes.