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4 training fundamentals

3rd May 2018 by Jess

Knowing what to eat and when in training can sometimes feel harder than the training itself! This spring, we’ve partnered with Tesco to support Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, so if you’re planning on taking part in one of their events, we want to help you make the most of your workouts.

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A common misconception is that we should be protein-loading around our exercise regimes. Although protein is important, it’s also vital we don’t neglect other types of fuel for our bodies.

Jess, graze nutritionist
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It sounds like an obvious one but drinking water before, during and after any activity helps to reduce fluid loss, maintain your performance, reduce heat stress and heat exhaustion. It can be hard to remember to drink lots of water throughout the day, let alone at the times your body needs it most - I know I struggle with this!

According to the latest research, if you’ve been exercising for under sixty minutes, one 600ml bottle of water should be enough to keep you hydrated. For every 10 or 20 minutes that your exercise is extended, you should add another 200-300ml to maintain hydration. This is really useful, so you can plan how much to take with you on race day!

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Protein is the most well-known companion of exercising - it’s undeniably valuable. Have a portion of protein before a workout to help with muscle recovery; and after to help maintain or even increase muscle development.

We’re led to believe that you need to consume protein immediately after exercise to gain from it fully. Actually, the window of time you have is longer than you think. As long as you eat protein within the few hours surrounding your workout - before or after - you’ll still profit from its health benefits. This is great news if you’re squeezing in a practice run before or after work!

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Sometimes seen as the enemy, carbs in reality fuel your training and can help with recovery too. It’s well known for being effective when you’re undertaking longer spells of endurance exercise, but it’s also good for shorter, high-intensity training.

Coupling carbohydrates with protein is a great idea, because carbs stimulate the release of insulin. When insulin combines with protein, it prevents protein breakdown. What a double act!

To improve recovery rates, try mixing whole food carbs with fruit to maintain your body’s energy storage systems, so doing exercise two days in a row doesn’t feel as daunting. You’ll also want to have a lot of carbs the day before your Race for Life event, so your body is fuelled and ready to go.

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Don’t be fooled by its name; healthy fats in reasonable amounts, eaten at the right times, can make sure that your body is getting everything it needs, to be working as close to optimum as possible.

Fats provide you with essential vitamins and minerals. They’re best suited for helping out with longer, more gentle exercise. If you’re taking part in short, intense activities, carbs should be your go-to. This means depending on your goal for the big day, your intake of fats should match the pace of your race, and the length of time you’ll be running for.

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Unless you have an athletic competition coming up, the best pre and post training meals will contain a combination of high-quality protein, high-quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, and some fruit and vegetables.

These foods provide an amazing blend of nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients which build muscle, supply energy, decrease inflammation, and boost recovery.

Jess, graze nutritionist
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We’re proud to support Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, a series of women-only events raising money for research into all 200 types of cancer.

Find out more and sign up for Race for Life events at
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By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to her website at for even more.

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