The way you fuel your workout is almost more important than the exercise itself. The nourishment of your body prior, during, and post workout is what will determine how well you perform. You go out with the intention to perform to the best of your ability, why not fuel your body to do that! Everyone is different and different people require different foods but there are basic principals that will benefit anyone’s workout. First and foremost it is important to be hydrated during all stages. Drinking water an hour before, during, and after your workout will help you feel energized from start to finish. Thirst is a sign that you are already dehydrated so try your best to stay ahead. Drinking approximately two cups or 16oz every half hour should keep you up to speed. As for fuel, it is best to consume a small meal one-two hours before your workout. Depending on how long the workout is it may be beneficial to supplement your meal with a snack in the middle of your workout. If you are climbing, cycling, or running for more than an hour a quick “pick-me-up” will do the body well. Try a handful of nuts, granola bar, or a piece of fruit. Post workout, consume a meal high in protein and carbohydrate with a little bit of fat. This meal should be eaten within two hours of the workout for optimal results.
Proper fueling is not only necessary before and after a workout but also each and every day of your life. If you want to feel and perform your best, it’s necessary you find a balanced diet with high quality foods that compliment your lifestyle. Experiment with different options to find the foods that make you feel your best.
Before your workout: Hydrate with plenty of water an hour or so before your workout. Eat a meal high in complex carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, pasta) with a small amount of protein.
During your workout: Drink water as needed, preferably an option with electrolytes. Lemon and Lime are natural sources of electrolytes, so squeeze them into your water bottle. For a workout greater than an hour, replenish with a source of carbohydrates.
After your workout: Replenish your body two hours after your work out with a source high in carbohydrate, protein, and a small amount of fat. A ratio of 4 carbohydrates to one protein is ideal. Continue to drink water.