A lot of people ask me what kind of foods I eat to optimally fuel my body pre and post workout. Growing up I always use to eat whatever I wanted, a burger here, a chocolate bar there right beforegames. As I have gotten older and have learned about how my body reacts to certain foods, I have learned the right way to eat so that I can get the best out of my workout.
Some people tend to skip out on meals pre workout because they dont want to feel ‘heavy’ when they train or play. But, if you skip this part in your day your blood sugar levels will drop very low leaving you feeling fatigued, dizzy, weak, or nauseous.
Whether you’re doing a session in the gym or a playing a game on the field, here are some nutrition tips to help you become a more successful “athlete”.
1. 2-3 hours before a game, practice, or intense session it is important to get carbs into your body. I usually like to fuel up on pasta/rice with a bit of lean protein like chicken or turkey, whole grain bread, or cereal containing fiber.
2. If still hungry leading up to the game grab some crackers with an ounce of cheese,plain popcorn, yogurt, nuts or some fruit like bananas or raisins to help you sustain your energy. Or if your a energy bar type of person grab one of those. My favorite are Cliff or Larabars.
3. Fatty foods slow down your digestion as well and can cause a spike in your blood sugar.
4. If you are feeling sluggish or dizzy during exercise could mean your sugar levels are dropping. I usually take a spoonful of honey or eat a few gummies (I like the Gu energy products…the gel or the chomps..or a few gummy bears will do!)
5. Try to avoid heavily salty foods which can cause dehydration, which is the #1 cause of exercise fatigue. It is ok however, to have a little salt on your food if you are a heavy sweater.
6. If you are a caffeine lover, drink a cup or coffee or tea 1 hr before your workout. Caffeine helps reduce fatigue caused by exercise and is know to actually improve stamina.
7. Drink plenty of water pre and post exercise to help your muscles recover quicker and it regulates metabolism and body temperature.
8. Post workout (within 30 minutes of exercise completion) grab your protein shake, chocolate milk, or electrolytes to replenish your body with the protein, carbs, and sugar you lost when exercising. And make sure to eat a healthy carb and protein filled meal a few hours after to fuel you for the day ahead.
All of these ideas are easy to wrap up and take with you on the go and taste great. Find what foods you like and what works for you and eat your way to a healthier lifestyle!