Fueling For Performance

Fueling for Performance: A Guide To Being Your Strongest Self

It’s no secret that exercise, or really any form of movement, is good for your health. However, if you’re not fueling properly, these benefits are practically non-existent. Food is fuel that your body needs to get through each + every day! You need this fuel to get out of bed in the morning, focus in class, power through your workouts, + everything in between!

If you’re underfueling for your workouts, it won’t just hinder your athletic performance. It can also affect your overall health + wellness. Your body needs a baseline amount of energy [food!] to do everything it does to function properly, + I mean EVERYTHING. If you’re underfueling + adding exercise to your routine, your body is going to struggle to find the energy it needs for its daily functions. You may experience chronic fatigue, GI distress, increased instances of getting sick, slower recovery time after a workout, or irregular or loss of menstruation. 

The good news is, underfueling is completely avoidable! While proper fueling will look different for everyone, the following guidelines can help get you started. Fueling for performance is a surefire way to be your strongest self, in + out of the gym!

Pre-workout snacks: power through your workout

Have you ever gotten part way through a workout + felt like you hit a wall? We’ve all been there! Oftentimes, this happens when you are under-fueled. Having something to eat before your workout is the best way to help avoid this! There’s a few ways to do this depending on what time of day you are working out.

Option 1: Full meal 2-4 hours before the workout. A full size meal will provide you with all the sustenance you need to power through a workout, whether it be in the morning a few hours after you wake up, or after an afternoon class. Of course, if you’re feeling hungry, you can always grab a quick snack to ensure you stay energized and satiated throughout your entire workout!

Option 2: Snack 15-30 min before the workout. If it’s been a while since your last meal, but you’re short on time, this can be a good option. In this instance, you would want to keep the snack simple + carb-focused. A few recommendations for this would be a banana, some dry cereal, a frozen waffle, or a handful of pretzels. *This is also a great option if you’re a fan of early morning workouts + don’t have much of an appetite before you hit the gym! 

Option 3: Snack ~1 hour before the workout. This is another option for when it has been a while since your last meal. It can also work for early morning workouts where you may not want a full meal before the gym. With a little more time to digest your food here, you can have a bigger snack. Be sure to include carbs + some protein to stay full until the end of your workout! A few recommendations include a banana with nut butter, a PB&J, or yogurt with granola.

Keep in mind that these guidelines are to help ensure you eat enough before a workout, while also avoiding the GI distress that can come from working out on a full stomach. These guidelines provide adequate time to digest your food, but at the end of the day, do what works best for you!

Post workout: recover + refuel

The food you eat plays a huge role in post-workout recovery. When exercising, your body uses energy from glycogen stores [a form of carbohydrate]. For this reason, it’s important to consume carbs after your workout to help replenish these energy stores! Your body needs them for daily functions beyond just exercising, so it’s important to consider this as part of recovery. The second thing to focus on as a post-workout recovery is protein. Protein helps your muscles repair after working them during exercise. Consuming protein will aid in a quicker recovery by providing the nutrients your muscles need!

A good rule of thumb is to aim to eat within an hour after you finish your workout. If you’re not super hungry right away, you can always grab a snack and then have a more filling meal later. As long as you pair protein + carbs, there are not really any other guidelines to post-workout fuel. Just be sure to eat something to get that recovery process started!

Every day: fueling for performance is more than just your workout

While the nuances of pre + post workout fueling are an important aspect to getting the most out of your workout, your eating patterns on a daily basis are far more important! As mentioned above, underfueling can negatively impact both your athletic performance + your overall health. Consuming meals + snacks roughly every 3-4 hours everyday can help ensure you are consuming an adequate amount of food. 

With that being said, it is just as important to eat enough on rest days as it is on workout days! Oftentimes, our bodies use these rest days to further our recovery + muscle growth. That means your energy needs are still high, + you can support your body’s recovery by continuing to fuel for performance. 

Lastly, it’s important to note that these are just guidelines! At the end of the day, do what feels best for your body. Everyone is different, + what’s best for one person may not be what’s best for the next person.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment