Friday, May 21, 2010

Fueling a great Hi-5 workout

Last week we talked about what to eat after a workout. But we didn't really address what to eat prior to a workout.

The first thing we need to do is address what we are expecting from our body during a workout and how our body will respond to types of exercise.

The first thing we are expecting our body to do is be able to work at a very high level, often up to 100% of effort levels! This requires that energy be readily available. Unless you are taking creatine, which is another post in itself, your body is going to have to breakdown food to produce the energy required for work. 

Also, we are expecting our body to continue to work at high intensity levels for up to 45 minutes. Therefore we need energy that will last. This is very important for both groups but perhaps more important for morning exercisers who are essentially coming off of an all night starvation period where there metabolism is slow and blood sugar levels are low. 

Eating prior to exercise (within 1 hour of beginning exercise) will require some energy that can be quickly broken down. These types of foods rate high on the Glycemic Index (GI). The higher a food is on the GI, the faster it breaks down. The lower it is, the slower and more sustained the breakdown is.

So a high GI food is recommended up to 1 hour pre-exercise. High GI foods are often simple carbohydrates such as 1/2 a bagel, rice, Cheerio's, a donut, corn flakes, pancakes, and of course a sugary beverage such as Gatorade. 

Now just because I recommended these foods prior to exercise doesn't mean you should go out and demolish a box of donut's  prior to working out. Instead have 1/2 a donut, a small bowl of Cheerio's or a single pancake. Remember, you are not trying to fuel the rest of the day; you only need to fuel the workout.

Try to avoid high fat, high protein, and high fiber foods in the hour prior to exercise as these take much longer to breakdown and can sit very heavy in the stomach. In addition they can cause gastrointestinal distress, or in generic terms, and upset stomach (yikes!) during workout. This, as you can imagine , would be pretty uncomfortable.
A terrific pre-workout meal would be toast with jelly, a small bowl of Cheerio's, 1/2 a bagel with some honey, a pancake with jelly or a little syrup. This should be enough to get most people through the workout. 

The rest of the day and day's you DO NOT workout, these foods would best be avoided for maximal fat-loss. On these days and at these times, try to eat lower GI foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains and protein.

Remember, the Hi-5 FitCamp Summer Session starts on Monday!! Bring a friend and get 1/2 off the monthly fee!!

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