It’s a no-brainer that putting the time into your training will get you to increase your performance on race day. But what about putting the time and effort into your daily nutrition? Fueling for your training sessions doesn’t just extend to taking in the right amount of calories during your workout. Eating food that will make you a better athlete is a 24/7 job which requires a conscious effort on your end.
Here are some of the phases to consider when designing your meals around training sessions:
- PRE-TRAINING SESSION
Make sure you consume some sort of carbohydrate (200-400 calories) about two hours before your workout. If you’re doing an early morning workout, bring some fuel with you and consume right before warm-up. Some ideas for pre-workout meals can include:
– Bowl of oats topped with chia seeds & fresh fruit
– Bowl of cooked quinoa with almond milk & sliced banana
– Apple wedges or banana with nut butter
– Toast drizzled with honey
– Fruit smoothies or good quality nutrition bars
- DURING TRAINING
In general, for workouts longer than one hour, you will require a source of fuel other than water. This should be an easily digestible carbohydrate such as a gel or a sports drink. It’s good to include those that contain electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium).
- IMMEDIATELY AFTER TRAINING
This is the period of time when your body is most depleted and needs to be replenished within 30 minutes post workout. Best ways to recover are to consume a mix of carbohydrate with some Sunwarrior protein and added electrolytes, like one of our favorite Recovery Smoothies.
- HOURS FOLLOWING TRAINING
Choose nutrient-dense foods containing fast-absorbing glucose to speed up recovery. You will want to minimize any inflammation or soreness by including foods that lower overall acidity in the body (alkaline foods which help reduce the body’s overall pH level to support health and overall well-being). These are primarily fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices and herbs. Another benefit of consuming alkaline foods is their ability to help lose excess weight and lean out, especially if they take place of highly processed foods.
Some of the highest ranked alkaline foods include the following:
FRUITS: pineapple, cherries, avocados
VEGGIES: dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, collard greens), garlic, beets, and cruciferous veggies (Brussels sprouts, broccoli)
NUTS & SEEDS: almonds, cashews, flax & pumpkin seeds
SPICES & HERBS: curry, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, fresh basil, parsley, chives & cilantro
Foods that increase acidity of the body include all dairy, meats, alcohol, caffeine, sweets, and overall highly processed foods.
- IN-BETWEEN TRAINING SESSIONS
Fueling your body with high-quality unprocessed, real food doesn’t stop in-between training sessions. This is the time to ensure you get tons of nutrients and boost immunity from sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and good fats such as nuts and seeds. Eating a wide range of antioxidants, you will compensate for the oxidative damage in your body after intense training sessions. It’s also recommended that you include drinking plenty of water to ensure you’re not dehydrated at any point (this includes skipping alcohol and caffeine as much as possible) since it can lead to cramping, headaches, dizziness, and nausea, all of which can slow you down.
Thank you to Joe Friel, author of The Triathlete’s Training Bible for inspiring this post!
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