Fuel for Workouts
The claims for special drinks, bars and chews for pre, during, and after workouts are spectacular, but do your really need them to improve your performance? Ignore the hype and try real foods that are proven to boost performance. They are also easier on the budget and have no chance of being contaminated with banned substances.
A pre-workout food should provide carbohydrate to top off your stores of glycogen, sort of like topping off a tank of gas. A small box of raisins contains 130 calories and 31 grams of carbohydrate, and contains vitamins and minerals with no artificial colors or flavors.
During a long, hard workout, consuming some carbohydrate helps maintain blood sugar levels and wards off fatigue. Bananas were compared with commercial sports drinks to see if real food could maintain blood sugar and reduce fatigue. There was no difference between the two, so consider packing a banana or two for a poolside snack.
AFTER WORKOUT RECOVERY
After exercise is the time to refuel and replenish your muscles. Two nutrients are needed to do the job — protein and carbohydrate. Carbs replenish glycogen that was lost during a hard workout, and protein supplies the building blocks to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Low-fat chocolate milk provides both carbs and protein and several studies have shown it to be as good or better than commercial drinks.
A food-first approach is a great way to fuel a workout, before, during and after exercise,so give it a try!