If you are planning to do a cardio session that lasts more than an hour (such as a more than 10km run or a 2 hour cycle), think seriously about what you eat. This is all based on my experience as someone who runs (7-14km) or cycles (20-40km) most days.
The more I get into exercise the more I find that my meals are now strongly related to me exercise goals rather than being a particulate weight on the scale. I certainly feel it is more important to feel strong and capable than to try to exercise to be skinny.
What I eat before exercise:
The night before - A good balanced meal with loads of dark greens (I had spinach and rocket), good fats and protein (I had avocado and salmon) and a carbohydrate. I find, thanks to the advice of Yoga Running Girl, that sweet potatoes are my go to good carbohydrate vegetable. They are much better for you than regular potatoes (being lower GI and full of potassium). Now I am off Healthy Eating February I followed this up with 2 squares of dark Lindt Chocolate. I try to avoid wine during the week, although The Cyclist swears that a beer helps with carbo loading, I'll stick with sweet potato.
|My Favourite Pre Exercise Snack, Organic Raisins|
- Half a rehydrate tablet dissolved in a cup of water (I use Science in Sport, virtually calorie free with all the necessary electrolytes) and
- A of good sized handful of raisins;
- or half to a whole banana (depending on the intended length of the session).
|Science in Sport, Rehydrate|
|Peanut Butter is Great for Energy|
- If none of these options are available try a huge spoon of peanut butter (I prefer the no added sugar or salt option, although the kids would disagree). If I am planning an extra long session I would even get up a bit earlier and have this on toast as well as the electrolyte water.
So today, the morning of my long run, I did start off feeling a bit flat despite all the careful eating. I started wondering to myself whether my iron levels are low and if I need a Vit B12 injection (drama queen of note here). Luckily, the rehydrate and raisins must have kicked in at some point as after 8km I felt renewed energy and ended up running nearly 14km.
After exercise, I have my favourite breakfast - oats, nuts, fruit and yogurt. I try to include unrefined carbohydrates and make sure I have protein in the form of nuts. Egg on wholewheat toast would be good too.
|Muffin, Half Eaten|
Every time I challenge him on rather eating something healthy instead he smiles and says, "There's nothing like a muffin in the morning." He usually follows this up with a giggle.
|A Healthy Smoothie in the Making|
So, as I said, I am no food nutritionist but this is what works for me. I certainly feel that I can exercise for much longer and feel stronger with the right food.
What is your meal of choice the night before exercise?
Do you eat sweet or regular potatoes?
What would you eat after a workout?