Eating the right food pre-workout can optimize your performance, increase your stamina, and assist with recovery. Carbohydrate-rich foods provide your body with glycogen, your primary energy source, to give your body the energy it needs to power through a long run. Here are five examples of simple foods you can use to fuel your runs!
The blue and deep red/purple coloring from blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries is from anthocyanins, an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and oxidative damage before and after a workout, speeding up recovery. In addition, the carbohydrates in the berries provide energy and fuel for your run.
How to eat it: Enjoy a cup of berries with oatmeal for a powerhouse breakfast. Add berries to a smoothie. Make a parfait with Greek yogurt, berries, granola, and chia seeds.
Easy to digest and carbohydrate dense. One medium-sized banana contains about 30 grams of carbs, so you can eat a small amount to get a lot of fuel for your workout. Bananas also have potassium, an important electrolyte for muscle contraction.
How to eat it: Eat it by itself or spread some peanut butter or almond butter on it. Put the banana and almond butter over a slice of toast. Add the banana to oatmeal with ground flaxmeal.
A starchy root vegetable that has both fiber and complex carbohydrates to provide the necessary energy needed to fuel a long workout. In addition, the orange coloring, known as beta-carotene, provides antioxidants which can help protect the skin, eyes, bones, and more.
How to eat it: Removing the skin from the sweet potato will reduce the fiber content, which can result in easier digestion pre-workout. Before the run, have some baked sweet potato wedges. Many endurance runners enjoy roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled with salt during long runs.
High in nitrates, beets have been suggested to “help blood vessels dilate which can increase blood flow to active muscles during exercise,” by Matt Fitzgerald, runner and author of multiple sports books. Many studies have suggested beets may enhance sports performance.
How to eat it: Juice your own beets or buy beet juice. There are sports nutrition products containing beetroot juice specifically made for athletes, too.
Filling and full of complex carbohydrates, oatmeal can provide sustained, slow-releasing energy for long training sessions. Ideally give your body about two hours pre-workout to adequately digest the meal.
How to eat it: Eat the oatmeal with some fruit, like blueberries or bananas, and add chia seeds, ground flaxmeal, or hemp seeds for some heart-healthy fats and protein. The fruit will also provide natural sweetness to the oatmeal.
Remember to fuel yourself right and you will optimize your training and recovery!