Did you know that as little as 2% body weight loss when exercising can impair exercise performance?  

Understanding the importance of staying hydrated and eating the correct foods before, during and after exercise will help your physical performance.  

Watch this episode of UniSA’s Best on Ground and hear from former Adelaide Crows player Courtney Cramey and UniSA’s Dr Evangeline Mantzioris as they discuss what to eat and drink to help you achieve your exercise goals or perform on the field.


Exercise and nutrition tips

1. Drink water and stay hydrated

On average, the human body is made up of 37 litres of water; human bones are 25% water and blood is 83% water. So staying hydrated and replacing any water lost to sweat during exercise is important. 

How much you need to drink after exercise depends on how much you sweat. A great way to ensure you stay hydrated after exercising is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Then multiply any weight lost by 1.2 – 1.5 litres.

For example, if you lose 1kg during exercise, make sure to drink 1.2 – 1.5 litres of water. 

2. Eat carbohydrates

It’s important to consume carbohydrate-rich foods before exercise or sport to maximise your energy stores. Your best option is to select those that contain different types of sugars, such as glucose and fructose. For example, fruit and cereal, or a honey sandwich. 

3. Eat protein

After exercise or sport, you need to make sure you eat protein to promote recovery. Depending on how intense your exercise is, consume approximately 20g of protein within 1 to 2 hours after exercising. Consider a high-protein meal such as grilled fish or chicken, or a drink like flavoured milk. 

It is important to note that how many carbohydrates, protein and fluids you consume depends on the intensity of your exercise activity and personal requirements. If you go for a 20 minute mild walk, that doesn’t mean you need a big bowl of pasta to replenish your energy stores. 

Courtney’s smoothie recipe is a great example of a pre- and post-game snack, which can also be prepared in advance. 

Make sure to check out the first episode of UniSA's Best on Ground series: motivation and goal setting. You'll discover tips on how to stay motivated to achieve your exercise goals. 

Courtney's smoothie recipe

  • ½ cup ice
  • 30g protein powder – Crows players only use protein powder that has been AFL tested for banned substances. Protein powder is an easy way to get protein into muscles for repair and rebuilding
  • ½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) – a great source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C for energy levels, healing and general wellbeing
  • ½ cup rolled oats – containing B vitamins for energy levels, fibre for bowel health
  • 1 banana – containing B vitamins for energy levels, potassium for heart health and magnesium to support blood flow to muscles
  • ½ cup plain Greek yoghurt (low fat) – a good source of protein for muscle building, calcium for bones and teeth, plus it's  filling and satisfying!
  • Water 

To make your smoothie, put all ingredients into a blender and mix. You can even prepare it earlier and store it in the fridge, so it's ready to go. 

UniSA Online - study on demand, on your schedule, on your terms

If you’re passionate about helping people live healthier lives, check out our Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Exercise) offered 100% online. You’ll explore the latest cutting-edge developments in nutrition and exercise, and will learn from experienced practitioners with real-world knowledge of industry trends, all in your own time and space. Visit UniSA Online for more information.

If you want to study on campus at UniSA, we also offer the Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science and Bachelor of Nutrition and Food Sciences

UniSA and the Adelaide Football Club

UniSA is a proud Premier Partner of the Adelaide Football Club. This partnership enables research collaboration, student placement opportunities, and engagement opportunities for staff, students and the wider UniSA community.

For more information about our partnership, visit unisa.edu.au/crows.