Friday at the house requires the right fuel to go the distance. Lindsey Becker, certified health coach and fitness chef helps us understand what to eat and what not to eat during the 24-hour period leading up to Conditioning Day…
How does food you ingest the day before a super, super high intensity workout such as Conditioning Day impact your performance?
Having a nutrient-rich diet before a high-intensity workout plays an important role in helping fuel your body and provide energy. Eating the right foods will prevent you from crashing, boost your performance and help your muscles recover and grow stronger. A healthy diet provides the energy and nutrients necessary for you to push yourself hard during conditioning day so you can get the maximum benefits. Choosing the wrong foods could cause cramping, nausea, lack of energy and improper muscle recovery.
What’s an ideal pre-workout meal for something as physically demanding as Conditioning Day?
2 to 4 hours before your workout, you’ll want a balanced snack or light meal that’s high in carbs, moderate in protein, and low in fat, sugar, and fiber. You will need a good amount of slow-digesting carbohydrates for continued energy and easily-digestible protein to help repair your muscles. Oatmeal with a sprinkling of hemp seeds (for protein) and sliced banana (for potassium) is a great option. In a rush? Smoothies are always great before a workout since they are easily digestible. Try ordering one with spinach since research has found that this super green can help muscles use less oxygen, which improves muscle performance. Just make sure it’s in a smoothie where the fibers are broken down. Consuming too much fiber before a workout can cause an upset stomach.
What about the night before Conditioning Day? Is there one go to meal you suggest preparing for something as intense as Conditioning Day?
The night before conditioning day you can eat a little more fiber than the day of but you’ll still want to stick to something high in slow-digesting carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat and sugar. Try having a Mexican stuffed sweet potato with chopped grilled chicken breast, sautéed peppers and onions, sliced avocado, baby spinach, and salsa. The healthy fats from the avocado are easily digestible and help your body absorb nutrients from the carb-rich sweet potato. A spinach omelet with roasted sweet potatoes is another great option since eggs are an easily digestible source of protein.
Top 3 foods to avoid in the 24 hours leading to Conditioning Day…
Fried foods/greasy foods – They can can be very difficult and slow to digest and remain in the stomach a long time, causing an upset stomach and cramping during conditioning day.
Candy and refined sugars – They may cause your blood glucose to spike and body to crash.
Salty foods – They can lead to dehydration, headaches and cramps.
Top 5 foods to include in your diet the day before Conditioning Day…
Beets – Beets help increase blood flow to working muscles, which can improve your workout and boost stamina. They are also rich in antioxidants, which help fight the oxidative stress that can come with intense workouts.
Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are vitamin-packed superfoods that are a fantastic source of energizing carbs, antioxidants and potassium (a crucial electrolyte for a sweaty workout).
Oats – Oats gradually release carbohydrates into your bloodstream for steady energy during your workout. They are also a good source of B-vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy. Even though oats have a good amount of fiber, it’s easily digestible.
Spinach – Research has found that spinach can help muscles use less oxygen, which improves muscle performance.
Eggs – Eggs are an easily digestible source protein which help your muscles rebuild and become stronger. Make sure to always choose organic cage-free eggs and eat them whole instead of just the whites for maximum nutrients.
How does the proper nutrition in the day leading up to a high intensity workout impact recovery?
Proper nutrition and diet before a workout helps prevent your body from depleting its glycogen stores too quickly, provides protein to assist with muscle repair, helps maintain electrolyte balance and helps fight oxidative stress. What you eat before a workout is just as what you eat afterwards.