Food is Fuel (Oshawa Hawkeyes)

PrintFood is Fuel






In the hours leading up to a training session we prepare our minds for the coming intensity, we ready whatever equipment we’ll be using and we decide on the best set of clothing for the respective nature of the workout. However, there’s a significant aspect of the preparation that often gets under-minded. And that’s the food you eat and the liquids you consume before you step into the gym. Optimizing what you ingest before exercise can have great impact on not only your performance, but also your recovery after. We’re about to take a look at what those optimal choices are, and also when they’re right for you.

The type of food and beverage you consume is not the only important factor in pre-training nutrition, there’s also when you consume it. The optimal amount of time between eating and training is dependent on the individual and their unique rate of digestion. The main goal of timing your last meal before a training session is to ensure that there’s a minimal amount of food sitting in your stomach when it comes time to execute fast and explosive movements. There’s no worse feeling during a set of box jumps than a mass of pre-digested food bouncing around in your stomach.

There are two strategies, that when executed properly, will guarantee a bloat-free workout.

1) Eating easily-digestible food, which we will touch on later, and consuming that food at least one full hour prior to any intense physical activity. Again, this is dependent on the athlete. Some require a longer window in between eating and training to fully digest what they’ve consumed. The only way to find what’s best for you is experimentation.      

2) The portion size should stay relatively small compared to a regular meal, basically snack size. This is to ensure proper digestion prior to a workout. The food that you choose should have a high nutrient density, meaning you should be trying to maximize the amount of vitamins and minerals for every calorie you consume. In terms of macro nutrients (Fats, Proteins, and Carbohydrates), the total amount will stay fairly low since this is again a small portion. Of course you should try to keep the protein level high, your muscles are going to need to rebuild after an intense training session. As for fats and carbs, the levels should vary depending on the type of training you’ll be doing. At Crossfit Dioxide, our training sessions are short and intense, which requires a higher level of carbs than fats. If your workout is that of a longer duration (90 minutes plus) you should incorporate more healthy fats than carbs.

Proteins come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You can find lots of protein in meats, nuts, oats, and dairy. The protein sources you should be consuming are that which you can digest easily and wont hinder your ability to move well, those being meats such as fish and poultry, as well as nuts and oats, like peanut butter or healthy granola bars.

Carbs come in 2 main groups, complex carbs (breads, rice, potatoes, etc.) and simple carbs in the form of different sugars (fruit is a dependable, natural source). Complex carbs should mostly be avoided prior to a workout since they take a lengthy time to move through the stomach and their nutrition won’t be readily available for use until much later on. However, simple carbs, or natural (not added) sugars, should be a staple prior to any workout. We’ll say it again; the best sugar sources are natural sources, so go for fruit not Fruit-Roll-Up.

The final macro-nutrient is fat. Fat has been demonized for a long time now, but the truth is that healthy fats provide a sustained energy source for a long duration workout. Your most common healthy fat sources are avocadoes, eggs, fish, nuts, and yogurt. The second benefit of a healthy fat source is that it’s also most likely a healthy source of cholesterol, which has also gotten a bad reputation. Cholesterol is an extremely necessary part of healthy hormone production.

  The final thing you should be considering is what beverage to drink before some hearty exercise. I would definitely recommend a good source of electrolytes. An electrolyte is by definition, any liquid that conducts electricity, but what we want electrolytes for is to maintain healthy organ function. The most important electrolytes for humans are Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Calcium. A decent source that’s easy to consume is any sports beverage like Gatorade or Powerade, however, many of these products contain too much added sugar. Grab coconut water for a more natural source.

We’re hoping this bit of basic knowledge will help you prepare a great source of fuel to crush your next intense training session.


Coach Adam

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Printed from on Monday, December 18, 2017 at 3:47 AM