Christina is the founder of The Fueled Athlete. Her experience in sports nutrition has shown her how many people struggle with what to eat on a daily basis… which led her to creating custom meal plans specifically geared towards an active lifestyle.
So we asked her to give us a few tips on fueling up pre and post workout to fend off those hangry, stomach roaring, willing to eat almost anything in the pantry feelings we all have after a tough workout.
As a StudioHop member, we all know that we must eat in order to have enough energy to workout! If you’ve experienced an intense workout while “on empty”, you know exactly what I mean. With many distractions from our jobs, family and the general stress of life, sometimes we forget how important it is to fuel our body.
For an active person, the body needs to fuel with quality carbohydrates for energy, lean protein sources to balance blood sugar while providing recovery nutrients to the muscle, and healthy fats to help moderate inflammation. I hope to give you some tips on how to fuel throughout the day in order to maintain optimal performance so you can reach your goals!
Before exercise, focus on giving the body energy by topping off the “tank” one to four hours pre-workout with quality carbohydrates and refill fluid levels to prevent dehydration and avoid any gastrointestinal (GI) issues.
Quality carbohydrates include complex sources such as whole-grain bread, brown rice or oatmeal containing B vitamins, fiber and whole grains; or simple sources such as fruit, containing antioxidants, vitamins and water.
The recipe for a great pre-exercise meal: High carbohydrate plus moderate protein and low amounts of fat and/or fiber. If you’re training in the early morning or if you have less than 60 minutes before, try a liquid meal or snack for quick digestion!
Avoid eating high-protein or high-fat food shortly before exercise, since these foods take longer to digest. High-fiber foods, higher-than-usual caffeine consumption or highly concentrated sugar (mixing sports drink powder in too little liquid) and/or dehydration can all cause GI issues.
Pre-exercise Fuel Options:
- Smoothie: 1 banana, 3/4 cup berries, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 5 to 8 ounces 100 percent juice (can dilute with water)
- Breakfast sandwich: 1 whole-grain English muffin topped with 1 egg & ¼ avocado, with fruit on the side
- Simple combination of sliced fruit with 2 boiled eggs
Hydration tips: Drink 5 to 10 ounces 30 minutes prior to exercise. Don’t try to gulp a bunch of water to make up for dehydration during sleep! During exercise, aim to drink 5 to 8 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
After exercise, focus on recovery by eating quality protein and carbohydrates. Make it a goal to consume 10 to 20 grams of protein with 20 to 60 grams of carbohydrate to start the recovery process and heal torn muscles.
Post-exercise Fuel Options:
- 12 to 16 ounces of 1 percent chocolate milk
- Yogurt parfait including 6 ounces Greek yogurt, 1 cup berries and a drizzle of honey
- Turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread, with a large apple
- Drink 16 to 24 ounces water for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
Each person will react differently to certain foods. The key is to remember which nutrients are best at pre, during or post exercise. Carbohydrate gives us fuel (before & during), while protein and healthy fat help most with recovery (post). Find what works for you, make a plan and fuel your exercise well! Don’t forge that recovery is a huge part of performance for each and every athlete, no matter what level.
Be sure to check out Christina’s page www.thefueledathleteeats.com where you can order her specially prepared meals JUST for athletes!