As an athlete (yes that's you...see definition)
one of the most critical ways you can support your body is by providing fuel during long workouts.
Often new athletes will do a long run or ride, drink plenty of water and then be baffled at why they are tired, out of energy or even dizzy at the end. Simply fueling the body during the effort can provide the energy it needs to power you forward. Teaching clients to do this with whole foods often leads to "ah ha" moments, which are the most rewarding part of training moms.
You don’t need to fuel during an hour of gentle yoga or a 30 min run, eating well before and after are perfect here. Fueling during exercise comes into play with a workout over an hour or a shorter but very intense workout.
Finding a fueling system that works for you takes trial, error and time. That’s why it should be part of your workouts and certainly part of your event training process. When looking for fuel, we want easily digested carbohydrates that will absorb quickly and give you a nearly immediate boost.
The fuel market is full of gels, gu's, bars, chews, you name it. Flip it over, read the ingredients and see if you know what you’re putting into your body. I do this with everything I eat already so there’s no sense in throwing that practice out the window with training. Athletes trained with whole foods long before the gu market exploded and there’s a great way to find balance here.
Whole food fuel options:
Stingers – on one particular run, I discovered I’d dropped my fuel zip lock and changed my route to pass the local running store. They had these honey stingers which met my need to have something on the go, while still being mostly whole food ingredients. My nod to living in the real world and not being psycho with my whole food quest.
Zip lock bags are perfect with fuel. An open honey stick is not your friend at mile 8 when you discover it is oozing out of your pocket. The snack size small enough to fit in a pocket, or easy to store in a race belt (fanny pack who are we kidding here). Repac makes a great quality reuse-able bag worth checking out.
Buy a few options or raid your pantry for some foods you have already. Start by eating a small something every 30 min. then play with that. Is every 20 min better or 45? If you are training for an event, find out how often there are water stations available and try matching that interval during your training. A sip of water with any fuel is ideal. Again, training for an event has to include practicing fuel options. Over time you’ll discover you really can fuel with whole foods for your strongest finish.
Do what you would tell your kids to do. Wear clean underwear and eat good food.
Keep Moving Mama
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