Optimise Your Athletic Performance with Proven Sports Nutrition Tips

Discover the key to athletic excellence with our easy-to-follow sports nutrition guide! Our team of experienced dietitians and sports nutritionists in Dublin is ready to share personalised plans and practical tips for athletes. From boosting your health to optimising your sports nutrition, we’ve got the straightforward advice you need.


Maximise Your Fitness Journey with Expert Nutrition Tips

At Inside Out Nutrition, our team of Registered Dietitians specialise in sports nutrition. Whether you partake in a weekly park run or compete at an elite level, let the topic of sports nutrition enhance your body to help boost your performance and improve that 5K time! 

The focus of this blog post is to equip you with the knowledge and appropriate fuelingfuelling strategies on what to eat before, during and after an exercise or training session to help give you nutrition tips for improving your health and performance. 


Pre-Exercise Nutrition for Peak Performance

The aim of pre-exercise nutrition is to supply your body with energy stores to help you feel energised throughout your session. There’s not one best meal! Your last large meal should be about 3 – 4 hours before you exercise. This is to ensure that it is well digested and won’t cause any stomach upset or discomfort because, trust me, you don’t want to be feeling full of food before an intense training session! 



Snacking Before Exercise

Having a small snack 60 – 90 minutes before your session will help to top up your energy stores and leave you feeling bursting with energy, ready to tackle any obstacle! This snack should be something that is easy to digest and supplies a source of simple carbohydrates. Examples include a piece of fruit, a cereal bar, a slice of toast, a glass of fruit juice or even a handful of jellies.

60-90 mins before workout


Strategic Sports Nutrition During Exercise

For activities lasting less than 60 minutes, usually, water is all that is needed to be taken on board to keep you hydrated. Our best nutrition tip for all athletes includes carrying a water bottle with you during the day to ensure you are on top of your hydration game! 


Key Considerations During Exercise

For activities that are longer than 60 minutes in duration, it can be useful to have some nutrition strategies in place to keep your energy levels topped up so that you can perform at your best for the duration of the activity. There are some things to consider, however. You want to reduce the risk of hitting a wall when you come into the second half of your match/leg of your run… and you need to have the legs to push on come the last few minutes of your session. 

Carbohydrates are your key for high-intensity exercises. Whether it be halftime in a GAA match, the last 10 km in a marathon or the last few strokes of a rowing machine, your muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores are going to be depleted, and you need to top them up! Couple this with sweating and losing salts from your body, which can lead to dehydration and fatigue. Sports performance research has shown that dips in your hydration status by as small as 2% can negatively affect your performance (1). 

Therefore, the key considerations during exercise are to: 

  1. Replace the lost salts from sweating with electrolyte replacement tablets.s 
  2. Top up your muscle glycogen stores with carbohydrates like a sports gel or banana. 

It is essential to hydrate before, during and after exercise. Make sure you get in plenty of fluids after exercise. Aiming for your urine to be a pale straw-yellow colour is a useful indicator of hydration. 


Post-Exercise with Targeted Nutrition Tips

Refuelling with a balanced meal or snack containing protein and carbohydrates is key for aiding your recovery after exercise. Having something quick to eat/drink within 30-60 minutes, post-exercise has been shown to improve muscle protein synthesis and aid in recovery after bouts of intense exercise. 


What to Consider After Exercise

  1. Refuel with carbohydrates to replenish your energy stores 
  2. Repair your muscle fibres with protein 
  3. Rehydrate and replace fluid and salts lost through sweat 
  4. Rest: sleep and mentally recuperate after a tough training session 


Post-Exercise Sports Meal Ideas for a Fast Recovery

If you struggle with poor appetite after exercise, then focusing on nourishing fluids which contain a mixture of carbohydrates and protein can be useful. This can include:

  • 500ml of high proteinyour favourite flavoured milk 
  • Berry and banana smoothie made with milk 
  • Protein shake and a piece of fruit 

These will help to stimulate your appetite and aid in your recovery while you await your next meal. A post-recovery meal should be balanced in protein, carbohydrates and fat. This meal will vary depending on your preferences, goals and exercise timing. The following table can be a guide to ensure your meals are balanced with carbohydrates, protein, fat and colour.

balanced sports nutrition meal


Tailoring Sports Nutrition to Your Goals

If you are looking for a more individualised approach on how to improve your performance and getting the best nutrition tips from the experts, booking in for an in-person or virtual Dietetic consultation will help you outline your nutritional requirements. Whether it’s nutritional advice for general recreational exercise or competition sport, our team of Registered Dietitians will help guide you to reach your full potential. 

➡️ Book here: https://insideoutnutrition.ie/book-now/ 


Science-Backed Information Sources for Sports Nutrition 

  •  Armstrong LE, Soto J, Hacker F, Jr, Casa D, Kavouras S, Maresh CM. Urinary indices during dehydration, exercise, and rehydration.
  • Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance.