It’s National Nutrition Month and this year the National theme is “Go Further with Food”. Food is, no surprise, what fuels our daily life. So, the question is how do we fuel our bodies to allow us to go further in life? Whether that’s going further at the gym or further with craving control, the answer is the same. It’s all about timing and composition.
To start, it is recommended to eat approximately 30-60 minutes before tying up your laces and hitting the gym, trail, or machines. This will give our body plenty of readily available glucose (our main fuel) to push the extra effort, create a new personal best, avoid any shaky feelings, and really go further in our workout. Refueling is just as important. No need for a shake on the drive home, your next meal should be adequate as you have up to 2 hours after working out to meet this recommendation. This refuel enables your body to perform restorative functions for any wear and tear created from going further.
A pre-workout snack should be carbohydrate based as this is our bodies number one choice for fuel. Depending on your personal preference, this may be a banana, applesauce, some pretzels, or a pre-workout smoothie. Once your workout is complete, a pairing of carbohydrates + protein will give your muscles relief, allow your glycogen stores to be replenished, and help you to avoid soreness the following day. If you won’t be eating your next meal within a couple of hours, example snacks may include pretzels and peanut butter, fruit with a yogurt dip, pita and hummus, or even a cold glass of chocolate milk. When it comes to endurance workouts (1.5 hours or longer), allow food to take you further with a mid-workout snack and an electrolyte enhanced beverage.
Remember to hydrate before, during, and after your workout as well as throughout your day.