Hope everyone who participated in the first 2019 Open workout really tested their fitness and were proud of their results!
As my mini video Thursday evening stated, 19.1 was strongly an aerobic, cardio style workout. Yes, your arms or legs may have started burning, but more than anything your heart rate was up and it STAYED UP. Not to mention, this wasn’t a ‘max effort, rest, repeat’ sort of workout. This workout was the fastest, SUSTAINABLE pace (even leaving some in the tank for the last 1-2 minutes) you could put up with for an entire 15 minute period. Now how does this translate to food?
I’M GLAD YOU ASKED.
When an endurance piece such as this is undertaken by the body, the first source of fuel comes from sugar (carbohydrates are sugar, B.T.W.) in the blood stream. Once that bit of energy is used up, either the liver can start releasing its personal energy stores, or the body will turn to fatty acids as fuel. Sugar in the blood stream is topped off with simple carbohydrates such as fruit or coconut water. Sugar stores in the liver come from a mix of simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates such as grains, brown rice, or sweet potatoes. Although the body will most likely turn to fatty acid oxidation (use for fuel) during a 15 minute piece such as 19.1, sugar still must be utilized in order to release fatty acids from their storage forms. On top of that (!), as lactic acid builds up in your muscles from high-intensity fitness, fats acids are more slowly released for fuel utilization, forcing your body to turn back to sugar stores.
What should you do with this information?
LET ME TELL YOU.
Eat your carbs! The last meal prior to exercise should be 2-4 hours prior OR is the dinner the night before if you attend the gym during the wee hours of the morning without consuming a meal first. This last meal should consume moderate to large amounts of low-fiber complex carbohydrates mixed with minimal to moderate simple carbohydrates, lean protein, and little fat IF you are consuming this meal within the 2-4 hour window prior to fitness. IF you are consuming your last meal the night before, your meal can have moderate amounts of (healthy) fats since you’ll have a much longer period of digestion prior to exercising.
Closer to the workout, about 15-30 minutes you could consume a simple carb such as fruit, or begin sipping on your personal fitness drink of choice if it consumes protein or carbohydrate. Introducing simple, easily digested sugar prior to a workout will top off your blood sugar levels and help sustain your initial fitness intensity for a longer duration.
REMEMBER: GAME DAY IS NOT THE DAY TO TEST OUT NEW FOODS. YOU ALWAYS TEST HOW YOUR BODY WILL RESPOND ON DAYS THAT ESSENTIALLY ‘DON’T MATTER’, i.e. if you crash and burn or feel like you are going to be sick, etc., you won’t mind it ruins a random Tuesday workout.
I know this was a lot of information so if you have questions about your personal meals or timing, please feel free to reach out in what ever method works best for you!
Stay tuned for Thursday evening’s 19.2 mini video on how one could fuel for whatever that workout may be!
Your C5 Nutrition Coach,
Smith-Ryan, A. E. & Antonio, J. (2013). Sports nutrition & performance enhancing supplements. Ronkonkoma, NY: Linus Learning.