8/21/13

Proper fueling during workouts: TIP


Time for a TRIMARNI tip!

It's late afternoon and your body is asking for a snack.
Skip the diet coke or energy drink!

Isn't it amazing that a calorie free, chemically-filled beverage can make you feel "full" and can help with headaches/nausea when your blood sugar is low?

Kinda crazy how the food industry knows what you want and will find some way to put ingredients together in a factory in order to have it ready for you at the nearest grocery store or gas station. Too bad our media doesn't stress the importance of real food from farmers like it does for a 40+ billion dollar weight-focused industry. 

As for real food, no problem to honor your hunger. One of my tips for proper snacking is to never watch the clock. If you listen to your body after working really hard to create a balanced diet that leaves you satisfied and happy, you can get your body into a rhythm as to when it will be receiving meals and how to snack appropriately. Our society does a real good job of not eating when you are truly feeling a sense of hunger yet eating when you are truly full or not in the need of food. 

 But let's talk sport nutrition for any individual who is exercising over a 90 minutes (moderate intensity for health/calorie burning purposes) OR for any athlete training their body over an hour (aside from off-season).

The next time you find yourself working out without a sport drink, and not fueling your body during a 1+ hour workout, address your eating later in the day?

Do you find your hunger more intense as the week goes on as an effect of not fueling properly during workouts?
Do you find yourself not recovering well post workout? Maybe lingering fatigue?
Do you find yourself with fluctuating blood sugar, changes in mood, extreme hunger/cravings?

Here's my take on sport nutrition for the active individual who wants to respond favorably to training stress and to get stronger, faster and healthier (anyone not want this?)

If you are not giving your body energy when your body is under intentional physiological stress, ask yourself what's more valuable to your overall health and performance? 

1) Being sedentary (or fairly active) with a low resting HR throughout the day and "fueling" your body to continue doing minimal "work" with your body (or to pass the time because you are bored, stressed, emotional)
OR
2) Moving your body with an elevated HR and "fueling" your body to maintain energy, postpone fatigue, stay alert/focused and to help with recovery and immune system health. 

When I work with athletes, my goal is to ensure that the athlete who is training for an event, is fueling properly for performance gains and to perfect race day nutrition.
When I work with athletes or fitness enthusiasts who are looking for a more balanced lifestyle or modifications in the diet, I focus on creating a good foundation diet so that when it comes to "training" nutrition, the ONLY thing that should be modified significantly should be the nutrition you consume before, during and after the workout to support the workout training stress. 

Every day offers an important time to fuel and nourish your body for your life depends on your ability to maintain a healthy metabolism and keep your immune system in good health. But because you do not have to run a marathon, do an IM or even run a 5K to be "healthy" consider the risks you take every time you push, challenge or force your body to perform during moderate to intense exercise?

I feel that with the rapid increase of endurance/multisport/running events, athletes are easy persuaded to train for an event but they have little to no idea as to how to fuel their body to support the new training load. From weight gain, to missed menstrual cycles (women), to rapid weight loss, brain fatigue/fog, low blood sugar, to muscle cramps, to a decrease in bone density to cardiac, muscle and brain issues. Why is it that so many athletes feel they don't "need" to fuel with some type of easy-to-digest/absorb, effective, safe sport nutrition during workouts? I feel that for many athletes, they consider these negative, yet health damaging, side effects as normal parts of training...but they are not and highly not encouraged when training for an event.

Swim, bike or run - if you want your body to perform and to adapt..... fuel it when it needs it the most. 
6am track, swim or bike workout. Your body needs fuel.
9pm. Your body probably doesn't need a bowl of ice cream, cookies or cereal. 

A well formulated, safe and effective sport drink will support your heart, brain and muscles by providing fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates. Considering the complexity of the human body at rest, never overlook the value of fueling properly before, during and after your workouts and how it can significantly impact your health, eating and mood the rest of the day (and week and life). 

Need help? Contact a RD specializing in sport nutrition to figure out the best fueling strategy for your personal health, body composition and performance goals. 

Happy fueling!