Eat, Recover, Repeat

Tiffany Schebesch

Summer is a time when many of us take the longer days and warmer temperatures to spend more time outdoors. In Fernie, there’s no lack of activities to keep us busy including hiking the Three Sisters, biking down Sidewinder or for the brave souls – training for your first triathlon. Inadvertently, this often leads us to spending more time exercising in the endurance, or aerobic activity zone. Not sure how to prepare for your next sweaty race? Follow these easy guidelines to fuel for success.

What you eat before training is key to feeling strong during your workout. Try to eat about two to three hours before exercise with an easy to digest carbohydrate snack such as fruit, grains and starchy veggies like sweet
potato. Carbohydrates provide glucose to
your working brain and muscles to keep you
feeling energized. It’s also important your
snack is low in fat and fibre, which are slowly
digested, and can cause an upset stomach.
Some great choices are oatmeal and banana,
or quinoa and grilled chicken. It’s equally
important not to forget about water here,
especially during the summer months when
staying well hydrated can be difficult - sip on
one to two cups of water in the hour before
your workout.
Never given too much thought to what to
eat during exercise? Well that’s probably
because for exercise less than an hour, water
works perfectly well to keep you hydrated
– aim for about three to four large gulps of
water every 20 minutes. If you’re heading
into longer events or activities such as half
marathons or a big ride, try to have 30 – 60
grams of carbohydrates every hour. Simple
carbs are key here to quickly get energy
where it’s needed; such as sports drinks,
dried fruits or energy gels.
Do you really need a snack or meal after
working out? Re-fuelling after exercise is
most important for two groups of athletes:
If you regularly exercise two days in a row, or
more than once a day.
If your exercise is intense, such as heavy
weight lifting or long distance running.
If you fall into one of these categories, you’re
going to want to eat your meal or snack
within the “Golden Window” of 30 minutes
after you’re finished exercising. This is the
time when your body is searching for energy
to replenish its carbohydrate stores, known
as glycogen. Some great carbohydrate
choices are whole grain products, starchy
veggies, fruit, legumes, and dairy products.
Protein is equally important post-exercise
since it provides amino acids as the building
blocks to assist in repairing muscles. Aim
for 15 – 25 grams of protein to optimize
recovery. Healthy choices include lean
meats, fish, milk, yogurt, eggs, nuts, legumes
and tofu. Some great snack ideas include
Greek yogurt, granola and berries or roasted
turkey on a whole-wheat tortilla with mixed raw veggies. In terms of fluids, the goal is
to replace what was lost to sweat during
exercise. A general guide is two to three
cups of water for every pound of weight
lost; however listening to your thirst cues
can be just as effective. Sports drinks aren’t
recommended unless you’ve exercised
vigorously or sweat a lot – some contain
more sugar than a can of pop!

As for any exercise or diet regime, one size
doesn’t fit all. Although this is a guideline,
those who compete heavily may need more
nourishment and for the sensitive tummies
out there, extra caution should be taken
when fuelling for your next race or big day in
the mountains. Get in touch with a nutrition
professional if you’re not sure what this looks
like for you.