Most of us know that eating a healthy diet is important but the whys and hows can be a bit of a conundrum for a lot of people!


Nutrition is a vast and ever-changing subject, so there’s no wonder we sometimes need a little help to sort through the jungle. The body is fascinating in how it constantly works to keep us alive and functioning. All of these reactions that occur in our bodies are referred to as our metabolism – yep, that’s right, metabolism doesn’t only refer to how quickly or slowly our bodies can absorb the food we eat but also a range of other activities.

To keep the body running like the well-oiled machine it was created to be and to aid the body’s metabolism, we need to feed it with the nutrients it wants and needs. The better the fuel, the smoother the ride.

Here’s an example of what this can look like for all of you wanting to dig a bit deeper into the wonderful world of nutrition – or those of you who just want a throwback to those chemistry lessons from your school days.

The human body naturally produces free radicals, which in short are atoms with unpaired electrons. They roam the body in a search for new electrons to pair up with. The magical cure to this? Antioxidants. I’m sure most of you have heard about how good they are but here’s why. Antioxidants lend electrons to free radicals, neutralising them, which prevents them from causing harm to healthy tissue in the body. Antioxidants can be found in foods like goji berries, blueberries and dark chocolate. Pretty delicious, right?

So with all of this in mind, how can we best fuel our bodies to prepare for exercise? Or more specifically, an intense class like Flykick, for which we need the energy to make it through that flooring HIIT section and to fuel those fierce punches and kicks. To answer this we need to understand the different food groups and how they’re utilised after they’ve been metabolised.

In nutrition, food groups are divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, protein and fat; while micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals. Let’s concentrate on macronutrients. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy, protein builds muscle tissue and fat also provides energy while also aiding cell growth (among many other functions).

What we want to focus on when eating for a high-intensity workout is building those energy stores to keep us going throughout the class. This makes a carbohydrate-based meal ideal, without neglecting to add some protein because we don’t want to neglect those muscle gains. Having lean muscle tissue is essential for a lot of things, not just looking and feeling strong.

Preferences of when to eat before training can be quite personal and something all of us have to experiment a little with. A good guideline to start with is to have a smaller meal 1-2 hours before training. That way we will have fuelled our bodies enough to energy so that we don’t fatigue too soon, but we will have also left enough time for the food to digest.

Need some ideas on what to fill up on before your next training session? Give these a whirl.

  • Greek yoghurt with banana
  • Fruit and veg smoothie – try banana, spinach and berries with almond milk
  • Rice cakes topped with boiled eggs
  • Porridge with fruit

Ready to burn off those snacks? Click here!


Louisa Willoughby