Breaking down nutritional habits into digestible things to do every day will help navigate an intentional path towards your workout goals, says nutritional therapist Caroline Hind, who shares the benefits of micro-dosing your diet.

Most of us would agree that having a long-term fitness goal helps to keep us motivated. Setting clear fitness intentions keeps us accountable for the gym workouts that we’re tempted to skip come a rainy Monday evening, and inspires us to consistently align our training routine with a wholesome diet. In short, aspirations ensure that our fitness dreams edge that little bit closer to reality. We all want to make progress towards our goals as quickly as possible, but there are times when our grand plans can feel out of reach, causing a downward spiral that leaves us stuck in a rut. This is where micro-dosing your diet may come in handy.

When it comes to complementing our fitness routines with our diet, taking a different approach and micro-dosing your diet could be the way forward. Proactively weaving healthy nutritional practices around our workouts might be the best way to solidify habits so that they become woven into our training sessions. The trend of fine-tuning the small details to reach big heights is a buzzword known as ‘micro-dosing’. It involves an attainable diet maintenance plan made up of micro rituals that put you in the driving seat of your fitness performance. ‘Small daily changes are easier to make and stick to than a complete overhaul of your diet but, most importantly, they are less likely to compromise your fitness and performance,’ explains nutritionist Caroline Hind.

Ingraining these mini steps into your daily diet will help to shape your goals into a reality, so it’s time to shift your focus and devote your attention to micro-dosing your diet into daily ‘do’s’. After all, when you can do the small things, the big things naturally follow.

Caroline Hind is a registered nutritional therapist at personalised corporate nutrition service Nutrable.

Benefits of micro-dosing your diet


Chug back beetroot juice

There’s so much to love about beetroot. The purple powerhouse is packed with anti-ageing anthocyanin antioxidants, and
it’s also rich in special compounds called nitrates which help you to work harder in the gym. ‘The nitrates in beetroot help boost the nitric oxide in your blood to dilate blood vessels and respiratory tubes, improving breathing and circulation. Beetroot not only makes sure your muscles receive the blood, oxygen and glucose they need for optimal function, it also protects your body from free-radical damage and boosts energy production,’ shares Hind.

Concentrated beetroot juice is your best bet to ensure you consume enough to feel the effects – even the science says so. One study by the University of Exeter found that drinking 500ml beetroot juice a day for a week helped runners to go for 15 per cent longer before fatigue set in.

Grab some rosemary sprigs

It might sound whack, but rosemary can actually help to enhance your fitness routine. Whilst the fragrant herb has lots of nutritional benefits when added to food, you can also harness a wellness hit just by sniffing the woody sprigs. ‘Studies suggest the smell of rosemary improves cognitive function, including memory, concentration and the ability to stay alert, making it a great way to boost your focus and mental flexibility for workouts. Just avoid inhaling rosemary essential oil during pregnancy,’
says Hind.

Grab a bunch and inhale right before your workout, or dab a few drops of rosemary essential oil on a tissue and take a few deep inhalations before you hit the gym.


Add zing to your shake

Refuelling with protein after a medium-to-high intensity workout is vital for muscle repair and growth, and if you want to get more bang for your buck, add some lemon for a detoxifying kick. ‘Rich in vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids, lemon juice helps protect your body against free radicals to support healthy liver detoxification and post-exercise recovery,’ shares Hind.

Whizz up your protein powder with coconut water, frozen banana, berries, ginger, cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon for zingy, cleansing post-workout refreshment.

Add salt to water

Sweating depletes levels of all-important electrolytes which are essential for cell, nerve and muscle function. These health-givers are also crucial for maintaining the balance of water in your body, so it’s important to top up after your workouts and make sure you are drinking enough water before (around 500ml in the two hours leading up to your workout) and during training (around 250ml to 300ml).

‘Adding a pinch of sea salt to a glass of water after a workout is the easiest way to replenish electrolytes. If you have time, make your own electrolyte drink with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice so you can be sure you’re getting potassium. On cold days, a flask with warm broth – either salted or made from an organic stock cube – can be more appetising,’ recommends Hind.

Benefits of different food groups: fats, carbs, protein & fibre

On recovery days

Sip on bone broth

Bone broth, made from boiled animal bones, is packed with the amino acid glycine, which is used to maintain and repair joint tissue. ‘The body can make its own glycine, but sport and fitness activities, as well as stress and injury, can mean extra is needed from your diet,’ explains Hind.

Micro-dosing your diet by serving up bone broth will also provide you with a dose of collagen to help heal weary joints, so make sure to sip a bowl of the nutrient-rich broth on rest days. You can buy ready-made bone broth in supermarkets, (just read the packaging to avoid any that
are high in sodium or additives), but it’s super easy and cost effective to make a batch yourself when you have some spare time. You can portion out servings and freeze individually until needed, so nothing goes to waste.

‘Simmer meat or fish on the bone for several hours, sieve it and watch how the liquid broth turns to joint-supporting, glycine-rich gelatine that you can freeze to use in soups or as a hot drink with a pinch of sea salt,’ advises Hind.

Get your omegas

Working out causes temporary inflammation in the muscles – this is a normal process as a result of micro-tears to muscles which happens through training. Our bodies naturally repair this damage when we rest in between workout sessions, and certain nutrients can speed up the process.

Omega 3 is one of these recovery goodies. This fatty acid helps to keep joints nice and lubricated, enhancing flexibility and agility, and it is available from a wide range of sources, including oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, along with nuts and seeds.

‘Omega-3 is an “essential” fatty acid, meaning the body cannot make its own but must obtain it through diet, so it’s vital to ensure sufficient intake to keep up with the daily maintenance and repair of joints, especially those that are supporting your fitness pursuits,’ believes Hind.

Aim to eat two palm-sized portions of oily fish a week and snack on 80g of nuts and seeds at least three times per week to make sure that you’re getting enough of the nutrient. Try to get in the habit of sprinkling a mix of your favourite nuts and seeds on your porridge or cereal, or scatter on toast with avocado.

Support your goals

Check in with yourself regularly to reinforce your long-term goals:

1. Keep track
Use a tracking app or journal to keep tabs on how often you accomplish your micro-dosing goals, so you can stay motivated to hit your longer-term aims.

2. Create a micro vision board
Use Pinterest to create a mini vision board of the little habits you want to implement. These could be as simple as having a giggle every day to savouring a cup of good quality coffee in the morning.

3. Be vocal
Shout about your new micro-dosing goals to your fitness community, be it on online forums, exercise-based apps or social media if that’s what gets you going. Sharing your goals can help your healthy habits rub off on others whilst also keeping you
on your toes.

Mealtime micro-dosing hacks

Fortify your daily meals with these blood-sugar balancing tips:

1. Drink apple cider vinegar
Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a tall glass of water and drink this half an hour before meals to increase stomach acid for better digestion and improved blood-sugar balance.

2. Eat fruit before your meal
Switch your habits around and eat fruit before, not after, your meal because the fibre it contains helps to regulate blood-sugar levels. Opt for low-sugar fruits such as apples, pears or berries.

3. Get moving
Gentle movement after your meal, such as a 10-minute walk, can help your muscles to soak up excess sugar in your bloodstream.