Nutrition is a top priority for training or competition. Improper fueling or hydrating hinders athletic performance and in extreme cases can lead to illness. Creating an eating plan that coincides with your training plan supports peak performance. My big motto when it comes to nutrition for athletes or anyone, is "eat to train, don't train to eat." If we change our attitude towards eating and exercise we can understand how food has the power to fuel our muscles and brain to perform movement at a high level. Dance. Football. Running. Cycling. You name it. Nutrition makes your movement possible. I'm starting an eat to train 101 series on Thursdays! I'll be incorporating recipes and fuel tips to improve your movement!
A question I get asked frequently is: "What should I eat right before I workout?" Nutrient timing before, during, and after training sessions depends on your specific training type, duration, and intensity of workouts and your overall goals for the session. Pre-workout fueling is quite simple. It comes down to fluid and fuel. Time a pre-workout snack 1 hour before your session.
Hydration sustains and improves performance in athletes. Pre-training fluid intake prevents dehydration throughout the workout. It is challenging to be hydrated before training if you are working out early in the morning because you wake up in a dehydrated state since you have not had any fluids overnight. Fluids with electrolytes are a better choice if working out early in the morning. Juice, low fat milk, or a small fruit smoothie early in the morning are a quick and easy choice to begin the rehydration process.
Eating carbohydrates before a training session is important. No need to load carbohydrates excessively if the training cycle does not have high-energy expenditure demands in regards to long duration or high intensity. A snack or small feeding will more than provide your body with the nutrients it needs. The type of carbohydrate depends on your sport and training session. For runners or contact sports, I suggest a glass of juice or small smoothie. For cyclists, rowers, and non-contact sports, a more solid source of carb can be used as a pre-workout snack. Liquid sources of carbohydrates are easier and quicker to digest. It is recommended to consume roughly 1-4 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight 1-4 hours before a training session. (Note: to calculate weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2). As far as protein, not much is needed in your pre-training window - just enough to stabilize blood sugars. Range is 5-20 grams of protein in this pre-workout timeframe. High end before a strength training session to improve protein stores and low end for more aerobic or interval based training. Fat intake pre-training should be minimized as it slows digestion and may irritate sensitive stomachs.
A pre-workout snack should be SIMPLE, quick & easy. Blend this in 30 seconds and drink 1 hour before your workout.
1 cup plain soy milk
1 small banana OR 1 cup berries
1 Tbsp maple syrup