If your goal is to make it through your next exercise session with as much energy as possible (and without hunger pangs), then it requires fueling your body with healthy, nutritious foods that are created in a way that will keep you going much like petrol does for your car. Which fuels are the best for achieving this goal? It depends on how much time you have before you plan to begin your workout.
3-4 Hours Pre-Workout
When you have quite a few hours before you’re going to engage in high intensity exercise like running or CrossFit, you want to focus on meal type foods that are low in natural sugar so that your energy remains stable. Some great options to consider are oatmeal with nuts, chicken and whole wheat pasta, and brown rice and beans.
60 Minutes or Less
However, if you’re going to be “feeling the burn” in less than an hour, you want a snack that will satisfy your hunger and provide you with ample energy without weighing you down. Therefore, you’re going to want to increase the sugar in the food slightly, meaning that you’ll want to consume things like fruit (fresh or dried), pretzels, and yogurt, as well as other healthy simple carbs.
Engage in light to moderate exercise and you’ll be okay for the entire session without refueling, but high intensity workouts require a slightly different approach. You need to keep your body going or you’ll likely find it difficult to complete the workout. Some great instant energy boosting options include a teaspoon of honey, a couple Fig Newtons, and one ounce of dark chocolate (which is also good for your heart, by the way).
Within 60 Minutes Post Exercise
Once you’re done with your workout, you’re still going to want to give your body nutrients so that it recovers healthy and strong. This snack should include a carb and a protein, which means that cottage cheese and fruit, cheese and whole grain crackers, and fruit with a handful of nuts all make great options. Fuel your body correctly and you’ll get the most mileage out of it. After all, you don’t want your warranty to expire, do you?