I love food. I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t love food. Food helps nourish our bodies, gives us the energy we need to carry out our days, and it tastes freaking amazing. We all know different foods have different properties to them that aid our bodily functions. You can go even as far as there are certain times you should eat foods to help with your performance.
What you eat before and after your work out is a important to consider depending on what type of work out you have. I think most of us know that you shouldn’t eat a box of donuts, candy, bag of chips, stuff like that before you work out. What do you choose then? I am going to focus on running specifically, however the principles remain the same for other sports.
Pre Work Out
Depending on how long you are working out for will determine when you should eat. For the longer hour plus run, the more preparation you will need. Give yourself at least an hour before your run to fuel up. Depending on what your sensitivity is you could eat as soon as 30 minutes before your run. I have a very sensitive stomach and can not do that. I hate the feeling plus the sloshing I hear during my workout (gross). I need to eat a full meal a couple of hours before my run or eat a small snack.
If you are only going for a short run like 30-45 minutes, you are totally okay with going with out eating.
So what should you eat? You want something with carbs is what gives you energy. They should be simple carbs so that it is easy for your body to digest.
Ex: Whole Grains (breads, cereals, pastas) and fruits (apples, bananas, blueberries)
My go to before a run :
Toast and peanut butter with a banana
Bowl of Cereal
Post Work Out
Great job! You just burned a ton of sugar and tore some muscle fibers up! Now you need to eat and rehydrate to repair the muscles and replenish the sugars you burned. A combination of carbs and proteins will do the trick. I would immediately eat something to hold you over until you can have a meal and drink lots of water.
My go to snacks:
Fruit such as apples/bananas/oranges
My go to meals:
Black Bean Burgers
Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Kale Salad
Energy gels help replenish the carbs that you body burns which helps you sustain the long periods of exercise. They are widely used with endurance athletes like runners, cyclists, and triathletes. They are not meant to take right before an easy run under an hour. I would use gels if you are going over into longer distances/times like over an hour and 15 minutes.
Try new things.
It is a good idea to try new foods and see what works for you. However, do not wait till race day to try new things. Do what you know works for you on race day and experiment on your training days.
Do you have a pre/post work out meal that you go to? Let me know in the comments!