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Food Timing Basics

“What do I eat before and after training or racing?”

The question everyone wants to know.  Depending on who you talk to depends on what answers you get.  Also, this is somewhat variable based on your specific body needs.  With that said, I can still share some generalities that are fairly consistent between everyone.

First and foremost, the most important thing when it comes to foods before training or racing is to take in foods you know settle well with your stomach.  You don’t want to be in the middle of a hard training session or intense race and find your body is not tolerating something well.

Once you know that, it can still be difficult to determine what specific foods will work best to fuel YOUR BODY.  Every person is going to be different.  The specific foods that work for me before training and racing may not work for my friends or clients.

Before training or racing

Prior to training or racing, you want to get some carbohydrates and some proteins in.  When it comes to carbohydrates, ideally you want carbs that will release slowly, not the carbs that will be burned through quickly – sugar, most fruits, starchy vegetables, and grains.  When talking about slow release foods, think about many of your vegetables.

The purpose of the protein is to get Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) in your body.  If you prefer to take a BCAA supplement, that will work as well.  The BCAAs help to maintain muscle mass during exercise as well as speed up recovery after training.

After training or a race

After training, you want to take in carbohydrates, both fast release and slow release, and protein within 30 minutes after training.  This immediate intake helps to replenish the glycogen stores that were depleted as well as decrease the muscle breakdown from the intense work you put your body through.

This intake can be in supplement or food form, whatever will work best for you.  Personally, I don’t like to eat right after training and I feel I need fluids, so I use supplements after my workouts.

If fat adapted

If your body is somewhat fat adapted, not necessarily keto, but you know you have trained your body to burn more fats instead of carbs for fuel, than your intake may look a little different.

Personally, I have trained my body to burn fat more than carbs for fuel, so my food intake is different than many other people.  I need to consume higher fats rather than carbs before both intense workouts as long as long endurance races.  I also need fats afterward rather than carbs.

I actually discovered this by noticing I was becoming dizzy and lightheaded after taking in carbs right after training.  I eliminated the carbs and the symptoms improved slightly.  I added in fats and the symptoms resolved immediately.

Having trouble figuring out what works for your body? Email for help!


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