Working on Your Fitness Fuel

Hello eaters!

Once again, it’s Tuesday, but all day I’ve been thinking it’s Wednesday. It’s driving me crazy!

Anywhoo, how are you doing? Anything new and exciting going on in your life?

Yeah, not too much new here either. Unless, of course, you count the new knowledge I’ve gained and am about to throw at you.

Ooh, aren’t I just the queen of forced, but effective transitions?!

Alright, today’s topic of discussion is fueling for your workout.

This is something I rarely thought about until it became an issue for me, so I can only assume other people are in the same boat.

So let’s get started.

Pre-workout fuel

I don’t tend to eat immediately before a workout because I get crampy pretty easily. But I do drink.

  • Before cardio-only workouts I drink coffee.

There have been numerous studies and reports that recommend ingesting caffeine right before a workout because it helps relax airways and reduce the perception of pain.

  • Before a strength workout I drink protein.

When you’re strength training you are breaking down your muscles so that they can be built back up bigger and stronger. But in order to make sure that your muscles are growing rather then repairing themselves with protein from other muscles, you need to put some protein in your body before you even step into the weight room.

I drink a half serving of protein (which should be between 10-12g) about half an hour before.

Add hot water and it's just like Swiss Miss.

In the past I have used chocolate flavored Lifetime Plant Protein Blend and mixed it into a grande unsweetend iced coffee. The caffeine from the ice coffee was beneficial, but it’s real purpose for me was to mask the unpleasant flavor of the protein powder.

Recently, I switched to GNC’s chocolate flavored Pro Performance Amp. While originally I thought the whey wouldn’t agree with my stomach, I haven’t had a single problem. AND it tastes great with just water so I don’t necessarily need to spend $2 on iced coffee.

Post-workout fuel.

This is possibly more important than what you ingest before your workout because you need to repair the muscles that you worked. Not repairing your muscles almost defeats the purpose.

  • Immediately after a strength workout I drink half a protein drink, sometimes with caffeine.

I bring the other half of my protein drink to the gym with me and drink it as I’m walking out. That’s what I mean by immediately.

  • Within 15-20 minutes of ending a strength workout I eat a carb-heavy snack.

There’s a lot of research that gives a lot of ratios of protein to carbs and then simple to complex carbs. I’m not much for math, so knowing that for your body to recover optimally you need both simple and complex carbs (my protein is already covered), I experimented.

Brownies count as carbs, right?

It took a few tries of different kinds of carbs.

And a few too many days of my body feeling like lead.

Dried apple rings for the win?

Eventually, though, I found two snacks that work.

Genesis bread and jelly, or Halo bars.

Both provide simple, quickly digestible carbs (sugars in the form of fruit and brown rice syrup, respectively) and complex carbs (grains in the form of barley, wheat bran, spelt, etc. and oats and flour, respectively).

In reality, though, toast with jelly is going to be my go to snack, because I’m not made of money…honey.

  • Within an hour of ending any kind of workout I eat something.

Generally I avoid dairy (because it’s hard to digest) and focus a bit more on carbs, but still aim for a balanced meal.

I’ve been following this complete plan for a few weeks now and am happy to report that I no longer feel full body exhaustion after a strenuous workout. I feel like I worked, but not like I need an afternoon to recover from every workout.

That makes working out easier to fit into my life, and more enjoyable because I know I get a snack right after.

I’ll do pretty much anything for a snack.

What about you:

Do you pay attention to fueling for or from your workouts?

What’s your go to fuel?

G’night eaters!

Disclaimer: I am not a registered or certified anything. This is what I’ve learned from research and personal experience. This is meant to be a guide/nudge in the right direction, but in no way a one size fits all plan.

PS-Today I’m thankful for m’lovely lady Janet, who always pushes me to up my energy in Zumba. Class wouldn’t be nearly as exciting without her (and her tata shaking).

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