NUTRITION BEFORE ENDURANCE EXERCISE
A car can have the biggest engine, the most expensive wheels and the loudest sound system, but without the right fuel, you are going nowhere. The same is true for your body, no matter how much effort you have put in during training, it is unlikely that you will perform at your optimum unless you have been getting the correct nutrition.
So what exactly should your nutrition plan before exercise look like? In this article I’ll take a look at the ins and outs of eating and drinking before endurance exercise.
WHY IS NUTRITION IMPORTANT BEFORE EXERCISE?
Your nutritional choices before exercise have a direct effect on how well you are fueled and hydrated during the session. Good choices will also prevent gastrointestinal upsets and hunger during exercise. These factors all can have a direct effect on your performance during training or on race day.
Another essential is learning what foods and drinks you best tolerate before exercise. One person may swear by an option which leaves another with tummy complaints. Learn what works for you!
WHEN AND WHAT TO CONSUME?
Your final main meal should be consumed 2-4 hours before the session begins, thereafter easily digested, carbohydrate rich snacks can be added in the last two hours. The ideal pre-race meal is high in low gIycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates to maximise glycogen (energy) stores and allow sustained energy release. It should also be moderate in protein and low in fat. If you are prone to tummy issues during exercise it is also advisable to lower the fibre content.
Remember to start your run properly hydrated as this is essential for both performance and health, as it will help to control your body temperature. The aim is to take in sufficient fluids without over drinking. Aim to drink 400-600ml of fluid around the same time that you have your final big meal.
Examples of suitable pre-endurance meals (2-4 hours before)
- FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ as a meal or smoothie
- French toast
- Toast with peanut butter
Making good nutrition choices before exercise can be hugely beneficial in getting the most out of your endurance exercise. Practice your nutrition during training, learn what works for you and see how it assists your performance.