It is important to fuel properly before, during, and after your workout whether the workout is challenging or at an easy to moderate level. Nutrition is one of the most crucial aspects of fitness, especially when you are depleting nutrients and minerals as well as burning calories. Today, we are going to focus on endurance exercises like cycling, long runs, and exercises that expel energy over a longer period of time. Below are some pre and post meal recommendations to help fuel your endurance workouts, along with hydration guidelines.
The American College of Sports Medicine defines an endurance athlete as one who trains and competes for 90 minutes or longer. Our bodies have two fuel sources, and the duration and intensity of your activity determines which “tank “is supplying your primary fuel source. The first tank is the body’s fat stores, which contain calories from fat that are available during lower-intensity aerobic exercise. As the intensity of a workout increases the body becomes more dependent on the second tank, which is your body’s carbohydrate stores, in the form of glycogen stored in the muscle and liver. The body can only store around 2,000 calories of glycogen at a time, which fuels both the working muscles and brain. When we exercise for less than 90 minutes, the second tank has sufficient stores to get us through the activity, but when we exercise for more than 90 minutes, our glycogen stores get low and the brain and muscles send signals of fatigue. In addition to glycogen depletion, dehydration can also impair endurance performance; so fluid intake also needs to be considered to prevent fatigue.
Your pre-endurance training meal should consist of primarily carbohydrates, with some protein and a little fat. Keep your fiber intake low as it may cause stomach upset.
- 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal with 1/2 banana
- Smoothie: 1/4 cup of quick oats, 1/2 banana, 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and ice (can add 1tbs of almond butter but it is optional)
- 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal, 1tbs of sliced almonds, 1/4 cup of berries
- 1 slice of whole wheat/whole grain bread with 1tbs of almond butter and 2 poached eggs
During Endurance Fueling
The ACSM recommends 30-60 grams of simple, easy to digest carbohydrates for every hour of training, starting 45-60 minutes into the workout. Energy gels, energy drinks, and bananas are good choices. Post-endurance meals should include carbohydrates to help the body recover by filling glycogen stores, and protein to help the body repair damaged muscle tissue.
- Smoked Salmon Bowl: 1/4 cup of whole grain quinoa, 1 cup of green veggies, 4oz of cooked salmon
- 1 whole wheat wrap, 2 slices of roasted turkey breast, 1/2 avocado, 4 slices of tomato, 1 cup of lettuce, and 2tbs of hummus
- 4oz of grilled chicken, 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 1 cup of fresh spinach, 1tbs of whole grain mustard serve with 5 carrot slices and 1tbs of hummus
- 4oz of grilled chicken, 1 cup of green veggies, 1/4 cup of whole grain quinoa
- Smoothie: 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, cmc recovery, 1/4 cup of berries, and ice
- 6oz of lean protein, 1 cup of broccoli, and 1/2 baked sweet potato
- Pre-Endurance: 2 hours before an endurance workout you should consume between 14-22 fluid oz
- During Endurance: consume 16oz every hour depending on calculated sweat rate
- Post-Endurance: Drink 16oz for every pound lost during exercises
- For every pound lost you consume 16oz of fluid