I cannot count the number of times I’ve pulled out of my city for a road trip with an empty tank of gas. That’s because it’s never happened. Aside from making sure I have everything I need in my luggage, and a stash of mostly healthy snacks, the first thing I do before turning on the GPS is fill up my gas tank. Otherwise, that’ll become a very short and probably expensive trip.
It’s a common metaphor to compare our bodies to gas tanks, but it couldn’t be more true. Our bodies need food for energy, for brain function, to get us from point A to point B in our workouts.
I want to explain which snacks are best for both sides of your workout and why snacking for each should be treated differently.
“The two snacks should be very different. First and foremost, the harder or longer your workout is, the more important each snack becomes,” Holly Perkins told us, a fitness expert and ambassador for New Balance.
She explained that a pre-workout snack has dual functionality. “One, to ensure immediate fuel from the very moment you begin your workout, and two to preemptively start the protein recovery process so that you’ll feel great for TOMORROW’S workout.”
Before a workout, you want to keep it simple with easily digested foods. Don’t eat a huge meal or anything that could cause stomach disruption, like hummus or beans. The purpose of this pre-workout snack is to prevent low blood sugar, increase muscle and liver carbohydrate stores, and prevent hunger throughout the duration of your workout, as well as provide the energy you need to power through.
Holly told us, “You want a combination of easily digestible protein paired with a moderately fast carbohydrate. You don’t want a super fast carbohydrate like sugar or a sports drink because this kind of sugar enters the bloodstream very quickly. This means that it will also exit the bloodstream quickly, leaving you tired mid-workout.”
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