Fresher’s Fitness – Part 1

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York’s cycling star James McKay recommends the best foods to improve training.

The joys of doing your own shopping might as well come with some gainz. Turn your kitchen cupboards into stockpiles of training fuel and give yourself the edge in college competitions or the York sport gym.

1. Coconut Oil – a rich source of Medium Chain Triglycerides, getting cooking with coconut oil to increase your fat oxidisation during exercise. This means you will be less reliant on carbohydrates and burn fat for fuel. Eat fat to burn fat, what’s not to like?

2. Green Tea – Green tea is another way to improve your fat oxidisation and the caffeine will increase your metabolism, burning more calories. Drinking a few cups a day and you’ll be on your way to getting shredded for Kuesdays. Instead of coffee, tea will have a more sustained release of caffeine meaning you won’t crash during that 5pm lecture and you’ll keep your zen throughout the day.

3. Beetroot – as a source of diatry nitrates, beetroot can help your muscles work harder for longer. Cyclists exhibited a 7-11% improvement in power output after drinking beetroot juice before a time trial. You might not like the taste but it’ll soon be replaced with the sweet taste of victory.

4. Cherries – Whilst all berries are a great source of antioxidants, tart cherries contain nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties for better muscle recovery. Hate getting out of bed after leg day? Try adding some of these red berries into your diet. And no, the haribo ones don’t count.

5. Chocolate Milk – Swap that protein shake for a tasty glass of chocolate milk. The low fat variety contains the ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, which your muscles require to replenish glycogen levels after exercise. Mo farah swears by it after training, so drink a glass within 20 minutes to maximise recovery.

6. Bananas – Eating half a banana every 15 minutes during exercise is as effective as sipping a comparable amount of sports drink for sustaining exercise performance, so grab a couple if you’re off for a big match or training session. They’re also a great source of potassium, an electrolyte which can help stop you from muscle cramps. Go on ya cheeky monkey.

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