Eating before a workout can help prevent low blood sugar and fatigue—both of which can greatly decrease your exercise performance! What you eat will vary based on the time of day, what you’re doing for exercise, and how long you plan to be active. Prior to exercise, your main focus should be carbohydrates. It’s good to have little bit of protein and fat as well- make sure that your carbohydrate ratios are a little higher. It’s best to eat both simple and complex carbohydrates before working out to get a good balance of quick and slow-released energy.
Fats and proteins take more time to digest, so they will help keep your stomach satisfied so that it’s not growling while you’re at the gym. Protein will work on repairing muscles after your workout is over (and at that point, it’s good to consume more). In general, fiber is your friend—but not before a workout. Ingesting too much fiber before a gym session could leave in a pretty uncomfortable situation! If you have no problems digesting dairy, having a little bit before you exercise is just fine. However, just like fiber—stay away from it if you have any digestion issues.
Here are a few simple options to eat before exercising:
Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Honey
One slice of whole grain bread or toast topped with one tablespoon of peanut butter and one teaspoon of honey (or sliced banana) provides a great source of carbohydrates, plus a little bit of protein and fat. This snack is easily digestible and will provide a quick source of energy.
Doesn’t that surprise you? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Admittedly, I’m a self confessed health food aficionado – although I have been known to dig into some french fries time and again – but I really have a hard time with the foods that many kids are offered after a difficult game. My kids have been given corn chips, candy bars, fruit snacks, squishy fruit punch pouches and even sodas. Rarely are there healthy choices offered.
I’ve been the team mom many times, and although I have often requested that healthier snacks be offered, the overwhelming concern is that kids just won’t eat them. A Sports Moms Study, funded by PepsiCo, found that more than 70% of moms are raising kids in competitive sports. The study found that sports moms spend 1/3 more time and more than twice as much money across their children’s extracurricular activities than those families without kids in sports. According to the study, the area in which most moms feel that they have the highest level of influence is their athlete’s nutrition. (more…)
Take one part sports dietitian, mix with one part professional football player, and add a dash of whole food recipes. Pop it in the oven and eventually you get an excellent book called “The All-Pro Diet: Lose Fat, Build Muscle, and Live Like a Champion” (Rodale, 2009).
I sat down with Kansas City Chief’s Tony Gonzalez’s sports dietitian and co-author Mitzi Dulan, RD to get an idea about what the book has to offer people trying to lose weight. Mitzi explains how eating mostly whole plant foods and avoiding heavily processed foods can help you manage a healthy weight.
Listen now as we discuss some of the recipes in the book, like the coconut banana smoothie. YUM!
The closest I ever got to the Olympics was the USOC training center in Colorado Springs where I received sports nutrition training. As I write this, The USOC dietitians are in Vancouver with Team USA making sure they are well hydrated and fueled while they go for gold.
But what exactly do Olympic athletes need to eat? You probably heard the stories of Michael Phelps chowing down on 10-15,000 calories a day! It sounds like a dream come true. Believe it or not, many of the winter sports require smaller body sizes to excel. It’s no wonder there is concern for eating disorders to develop among athletes.
For example, the ski jumper must be tall and thin so their goal is to have a low BMI – 5′ 11″ and 140 pound male (model thin). Suzie Parker Simmons, a sports dietitian at USOC, says that ski jumping is problematic because the sport requires strength, power and low weight. “Because it’s a power sport, endless hours of fat-burning running [to reduce weight] is counterproductive athletically—explosive power for ski jump demands fast-twitch muscle fibers, not the slow-twitch fibers developed by endurance sports. That means caloric restriction, not extra exercise, is the primary means of keeping body weight low.” (more…)