Work.It.Out & Silence the Stomach

11 Jun

(pics to be inserted when I’m reunited with my Mac tonight)

I mentioned I’d write a quick post (and this could be very lengthy because underneath the exterior I’m the biology nerd-girl at heart) about what to eat before you exercise.

Caveat #1: if you’re eating a balanced diet throughout the day you really shouldn’t need to “fuel up” before a work-out. Fuel for exercise doesn’t come from food consumed immediately before your workout. Your body use glycogen stores – a.k.a. the carbs and fat stored in your muscles, liver and fat cells – while working out. The overall storage will provide enough to fuel you through 1-2 hours of very intense exercise or 3-4 hours of moderate exercise.

Caveat #2: DRINK WATER! A hydrated body is a happy body and one that will perform optimally for you.

There are many individual factors at play – your diet is the biggest one. I generally eat 300-400 calorie mini-meals throughout the day and have found through much trial and error that foods with high glycemic values are my optimal pre-workout foods (read fast digesting, low-fat). But I cut that number in half, eating no more than 150-200 calories before working out. Again, this will vary based on your body weight, fitness goals and the intensity of your workout. My advice is to start small when discovering what works best for you.

Choose simple, as close to the whole-food source items that your body can process quickly and keep your stomach quieted while you engage in your fitness activity. For me, Lara bars are a convenient (raw) food bar with 3-4 ingredients that process simply and keep me happy while pushing through exercise(s).
A few more good examples:

    • Fruit; Higher-glycemic fruits include things like pineapple, apricots, banana, mango, and watermelon
    • Tomato or vegetable juice
    • Pretzels or bagels – again, watch the serving size
    • Food bars (again, I recommend Lara – keep it close to a whole-food source; Clif isn’t too bad – just keep an eye on sugar and calorie content)
    • Hummus & veggies
    • High quality dark chocolate 🙂
    • A small smoothie (low-fat yogurt and fruit based – preferably made by you)

What are “raw foods”? A whole other post, dears.

Just to note, I’m not a dietitian, simply someone who has more than a few years of experience in food + fitness. If you want an fantastic read on sports nutrition, please see the work of the wonderful Nancy Clark. Her book, Sports Nutrition Guidebook (Fourth Edition), is one of my fundamental nutrition reads for active people or anyone who wants to be more active (that covers everyone, right??).

What do you eat before working out? Any other suggestions or recommendations are welcome as comments.

HAPPY FRIDAY (finally)!

P.S. Happy birthday to my momma! xo

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