On Thursday, February 5, Instructor in Physical Education, Director of Recreation and Chair of Physical Education in the Division of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics Christina Turner spoke at a Shaw Wellness Brown Bag titled “Exercise Nutrition.” According to Turner, despite Colgate’s position as a Division I university in athletics, the gap between our knowledge of nutrition and athletics can be vast. During her brown bag, Turner discussed the best way to eat – before and after a workout. Her talk mainly focused on how nutrition is just as important as exercise when trying to lose weight, gain muscle mass, or generally keep in shape. A lot of students may think that exercise on top of not eating the basic nutrients is better for getting in shape, a belief that Turner attempted to disprove.
Turner discussed how some foods that we like to cut out of our diets are actually important for staying energized and seeing results. The stigmas surrounding these foods, like carbohydrates or protein-rich sustenance, lies in our lack of knowledge about them. Carbohydrates, like bread and pasta, support brain function and give your body the sugar it needs to sustain a successful workout session. Turner talked about the importance of always eating some form of glycemic nutrition before and after exercising. Proteins, which many people think should be one of the main foods to consume, should not be the primary substance eaten before a workout.
Turner pointed out how the body can’t digest proteins without carbohydrates to use as energy to consume them.
“Proteins build and sustain our muscles,” Turner said.
According to Turner, the timing of nutrition intake is also an important part of staying in shape. Pre and post-workout meals are necessary for seeing any results. Before working out, Turner says you should consume low-glycemic carbohydrates that will slowly break down to produce long-lasting energy, and protein-rich meals only if you think you are going to exercise for over an hour. Under a half-hour, Turner recommends eating something that is easily digestible and fluid, like oatmeal or a smoothie. She says that you need to digest the nutrients in enough time so that you don’t get cramps and can use the sugar you gain from the carbohydrates to fuel your workout and the proteins to increase muscle development.
In addition, Turner says that you should eat within an hour of any type of workout to provide nutrients for your recovery session. The type of food you consume should mainly be high-glycemic carbohydrates, like a candy bar or something sugary, to give your body a burst of quick energy.
“Getting something in your body to make sure you can recover and refuel is the best way to [eat after a workout] so that you don’t … crash later on and you can recover and be able to go back at it the next day,” Turner said.
One fallacy people fail to recognize is how much protein one’s body can actually handle. In the media, there is a lot of support for low-carb and high-protein consumption, particularly after a workout. Protein supplements can overload your kidneys and body and cause serious damage. Women can only consume about twenty grams of protein in a single sitting, while men can digest a little more than twice that. Yet, consuming protein supplements can put up to eighty grams of protein in your body, and this will not be digested. Turner does not recommend taking protein pills, instead naturally supplying your body with protein, like eggs or poultry.