Eating for Exercise

Muscle Pump

Summer is a great excuse to step out of your comfort zone and jump into some new workouts, such as swimming, cycling, hiking, volleyball, or tennis. It’s also a perfect time to sign up for a new workout class to attend over the summer. Some of the up-and-coming workout crazes are floating water yoga, water cycling, and hydro-sprints (seeing a trend here?).  While trying out new sports can be easy, figuring out what to eat before and after your sweat-time may be trickier.

Optimizing your nutrition routine before and after a workout can make a huge impact on your athletic performance, as well as your body’s ability to recover and refuel for the next go-around.  

paddle board

Pre-Workout

The majority of us aren’t on a Michael Phelps diet of 12,000 calories per day, but your body does need substantial amounts of fuel to exercise well.  More importantly, it needs the RIGHT kind of fuel to perform optimally. Before hitting the gym, the best energy for your body is strictly carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates provide quick and easily accessible calories to burn up throughout your workout.

Eat This:

  • Smoothies
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Fresh or dried fruit

Not That:

  • Spicy Foods
  • High-Fiber Foods (celery, broccoli, beans)
  • Fats (Avacados, nuts, seeds)

 

During Workout

While working out, the rule of thumb is to avoid eating if the activity is less than one hour. Once you’re past the 60-minute mark, small amounts of carbohydrates may be helpful to replenish energy needs. Choose one example from the list below. If you continue exercising for 2-3 hours (let’s go marathon training!), considering doubling your carbohydrate snacks. Choose 2-3 examples per hour of extra workout:

  • 1 large Banana
  • 1 large Apple/Pear/Orange
  • 1 Granola/Fig Bar
  • 15 Pretzels
  • ¼ Cup Trail Mix
  • 1 Cup Cheerios
  • 1 Packet of Honey Stinger Gels

 

Post-Workout

Once you’ve torched those calories for the day, the recovery time begins!  Post-workout fuel MUST include a protein and a carbohydrate together. Some fun pairings to munch on within the first 1-4 hours include:

  • Chocolate milk
  •  PB&J sandwich
  • Apples and almond butter
  • Omelet with veggies
  • English muffin and peanut butter
  • Pita and hummus

When resting later in the week, make sure to reintroduce high-fiber foods and healthy fats back into the diet.  Research shows that keeping your gut healthy between workouts can dramatically improve mood, digestion, and energy levels.


As always, incorporating a variety of foods and hitting all three macronutrients in your diet will be the key to your exercise success. Check out the recipe below for a quick post-workout snack that incorporates fats, carbs, and protein when you’re on the run. For further questions about optimizing nutrition and exercise, contact a registered dietitian in your area!

 

Quick Post-Workout Snack: 5-MINUTE PROTEIN PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BITES (12 Bites)

meatballs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup natural drippy peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm syrup (honey also works)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup protein powder of choice (try Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides)
  • 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (vegan, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

 

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, coconut palm syrup and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in protein powder, coconut, flaxseed meal, oats, chocolate chips and chia seeds. Mix until well combined. I usually have to use my hands to mix and work with the dough. At this point you should be able to form balls that stick together. Because all peanut butter/nut butter consistencies are different and depending on what protein powder you use, you may need to add in more nut butter or sweetener to help the balls stick together. Form into 12 balls and place in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week, or the freezer for a month. Enjoy!

Source: http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2016/02/protein-peanut-butter-energy-bites/


For more information:

 

References:

Clark, A., & Mach, N. (2016). Exercise-induced stress behavior, gut-microbiota-brain axis and diet: a systematic review for athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-016-0155-6

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About the Author

Erin Gussler, MS RDN LD CLT

Growing up, Erin has always loved food (and could be found singing “fruit, fruit, fruit for the whole team” at baseball games).  When she started college, she realized her true calling was in the field of nutrition.  After a career in critical care nutrition, she is now using her passion and knowledge for integrative and functional nutrition to help you succeed in your wellness goals.  Nutrition should be more than just “another diet”, but about healing and wellness from the inside out.  Using personalized nutrition therapy, Erin will teach you to not only love food but to eat food (and enjoy food) that loves you back.

Erin received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science at Texas A&M University, and she completed her dietetic internship through Meredith College.  She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the Houston Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  She is also a member of several dietetic practice groups including Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, and Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition.

Erin is committed to working with you to find balance in your life and to help demystify the world of nutrition.  Our goal at Whole Health Houston is to find the root causes of imbalance, and provide an individualized and custom wellness map.  Erin works closely with the doctors at Whole Health Houston to provide you with consistent care, evaluation, and on-going monitoring to help you succeed.  Let Erin walk alongside you and teach you to use food and nutrition to help you live your best life!

About the Author

Erin Gussler, MS RDN LD CLT

Erin is committed to working with you to find balance in your life and to help demystify the world of nutrition.  Our goal at Whole Health Houston is to find the root causes of imbalance, and provide an individualized and custom wellness map.  Erin works closely with the doctors at Whole Health Houston to provide you with consistent care, evaluation, and on-going monitoring to help you succeed.  Let Erin walk alongside you and teach you to use food and nutrition to help you live your best life!

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