What to eat – for a physically active person


Carbs, protein, nutrients, vitamins and minerals are crucial for every athlete. But how much of each do I eat? When do I eat what? Before or after sports?


People indulge in sports to improve their performance, lose or gain weight or just to be fit. Even if it is just a hobby and not about setting up any records the right nutrition is essential to achieve your personal goals. It is well known that the performance and the physical condition of the human body are strongly linked to our food and its nutrition, vitamins and minerals.

The German Society of Nutrition recommends a carbohydrate-rich diet with a high amount of nutrition through fruits and vegetables. Fats shouldn’t take up more than 30% of the total energy intake per day. Playing a sport increases the need for vitamins and minerals. The key to great health is a varied diet with food of high value. The more intense the workout is and the less fit you are, the higher the loss of micronutrients and minerals. Especially beginners have to take care of their balance of minerals and especially a sufficient water intake.

Water Intake

Even without any form of physical activity a healthy adult should drink at least 1.5 litres of liquid per day. An average man weighing 70 kilos loses around 1.4 litres liquid during one hour of running through his sweat. It is necessary to refill the resulting lack of fluids. A constant water intake of 200ml every 15 minutes is recommended. The liquid can be taken either as mineral water or thin clear fruit-juice which provides electrolytes additionally. The water supply level should be balanced not later than two hours after the workout.


Pre-workout meal

The intensity of a workout is among other things depending on your energy level. A black coffee and a banana is actually much healthier than those highly touted chocolate energy bars which mostly contain lots of fat. The energy your body needs for dealing with digesting this fat is absent in your muscles during your workout.

Post-workout meal

After a good workout, the body loses up to two-thirds of its glycogen reserves. It is recommended to refill these carbohydrate stores in the next two hours after the workout. Because the muscles are still highly active during this time period and are able to store the necessary glycogen more easily. Therefore, it is important to choose your post-workout meal that suitably fits your fitness goal. Sportsmen who wish to gain weight are recommended to have a diet rich in carbohydrates and proteins with less fat, whereas sportsmen who want to lose weight are supposed to eat less carbs and fat but lots of protein and vitamins.

Key to weight loss

There are several diet plans that you can find in magazines, TV or the internet which tries to convince you that their kind of “diet powder” will help you to lose or gain without changing your diet, I tell you that losing weight is all about your personal calorie balance per day. If you are burning more calories than you are eating in a day you will lose weight and vice versa. So please stay away from expensive miracle diet products and take care of what you eat and when you eat instead. Because we all want to feel better, don´t you?

Jens Behrensen

by Jens Behrensen

German fitness addict sharing my experience and trying to bring a healthier lifestyle to people. View all articles by Jens Behrensen.


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