Maximise The Impact Of Your Nutrition

Functional food manufacturer Futurelife offers nutrition tips to get the best from your body on race day

Futurelife nutritionist, Megan Lee, provides some nutrition tips that are guaranteed to keep you healthy and help boost your performance, both in your training and on race day.

For those preparing for the Pretoria Spar Women’s Challenge, taking place on 5 August 2017, time is fast running out. To ensure you make the most of what training is left, follow these tips on race and training nutrition:

1. Balance your energy

Achieving an energy balance requires that energy ingested through food and drink matches energy expended through daily metabolic functions and activity. Sufficient daily energy intake is essential for ensuring that the body is able to perform all necessary functions while still having enough energy to fuel your training. However, excess energy intake may lead to unwanted weight gain. Thanks to technology, there are great apps and devices available that can help you to better understand your energy intake and expenditure requirements.

2. Fuel training with high quality carbs

Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for both your muscles and your brain, making them an essential part of any diet, but particularly a training diet. One should pay special attention to the quality of carbohydrates consumed and genrally select wholegrain, high-fibre options with a low glycaemic index (GI) such as cooled sweet potato, starchy vegetables, brown rice, low GI bread (many Futurelife® products are suitable) and whole wheat pasta.

3. Prioritise protein

When you’re training hard, meeting your protein requirements needs to be a priority. Protein is essential for many functions within the body, including muscle protein synthesis. To optimise muscle growth and repair and make sure that you are getting enough protein, spread your intake throughout the day, rather than trying to get large amounts at one or two meals. Protein can be obtained from both plant and animal sources.

Did you know? Futurelife® High Protein Smart Food™ provides 30g of high-quality protein per 100g. Adding milk to this will further increase protein availability.

4. Micronutrients have a macro effect

Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals, which our bodies require in small amounts daily to perform many necessary functions. In some cases active people have slightly increase requirements for some vitamins and minerals, but these can usually be met through increased energy intake and a healthy, balanced diet, without any food group exclusions. Pay special attention to fruit and vegetable intake. Half of your plate should be fresh vegetables as they packed with vitamins and minerals and fibre. It’s also important to vary the colours of fruit and vegetables you eat as they are rich sources of phytonutrients (antioxidants, powerful defenders of health). Aim for 5 servings of fruit and vegetables (one to two of each colour) per day.

If you feel for whatever reason that you may not be getting sufficient micronutrients, take a multivitamin at 100-150% of the NRV (Nutrient Reference Value, as indicated on food labels) for each nutrient. Individual micronutrients should not be supplemented without a diagnosed deficiency. Fortified Futurelife® products provide 100% of the average healthy person’s requirements for all vitamins and most minerals per 100g dry weight.

5. Don’t dehydrate

Around 60% of your body is made up of water, which is necessary for many bodily functions. If your hydration levels are not what they should be, you’ll soon see it in your training as you will experience decreased stamina, speed, energy and diminished muscle strength. As a guide, it’s recommended that we drink 6-8 glasses, or 1.5-2l of water per day. This amount will increase with training and should be accounted for.

6. Eat breakfast

Make sure it’s low GI and contains protein. This will provide you with the energy and vitality that you need. Not only do studies say that it will help speed up your metabolism, prevent you from overeating throughout the day and manage your weight, but it will also help you live longer, feel better and ultimately help reduce and/or manage your risk for lifestyle diseases.

7. Formulate a sports nutrition strategy

Do your homework and start learning what foods you best tolerate before exercise. While there are guidelines around the types of foods to choose, each person is different and a new strategy should never be trialled on race day. Learn what works for you.

Visit the Spar Women’s Challenge Pretoria Facebook page for more tips from Futurelife. The 2017 race takes place on 5 August at SuperSport Park Stadium. To enter, visit participating Spar stores or enter online at

Author: Pedro van Gaalen