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Eat to Fuel Your Future


As a Nutritional Therapist with a special interest in working with athletes, I’m often asked by clients what they should eat after they work out to fuel their recovery. While this is certainly important, I like to stress that what you eat BEFORE you work out is actually far more important.  Here’s what people often find surprising:

You eat and drink to fuel your future energy and body needs. You do not eat to replenish what you’ve already expended.

This is why:
–You should eat carbs and fats before you work out, for muscle energy, and then protein afterwards, to fuel the muscle rebuilding your body is going to need to do.
–If you come home starving late at night after working out, you just need to eat lightly to fuel your body’s recovery overnight.
–Once you’re dehydrated, you can’t catch up–you can only add water for your body’s future needs.

Carbs fuel your muscles with quick energy. Fats and proteins give you longer burning energy. Protein and carbs help your muscles recover. It all adds up to balance. Try to eat a full balanced meal 2-3 hours before your workout, in a good 40% carb/30% protein/30% fat ratio. The fats are important for long-burning energy.  For a snack right before, or mid-workout, carbs and a little fat/protein are perfect. Dates plus a few nuts. Whole grain toast with nut butter. Full-fat plain yogurt and berries with sunflower or hemp seeds.

You really don’t need any sort of special “recovery” drink or food when you’re done. Just more balanced food: simple protein that’s easy to digest–fish, eggs, spirulina (not red meat, as digestion is slowed by strenuous exercise and this can lead to gastric upset with heavy protein). Some starch like a sweet potato to replenish spent glycogen stores. Add a little coconut oil to fuel your overnight muscle rebuilding.

And don’t forget hydration! Coconut water, electrolyte water, or spring water with a pinch of sea salt to replenish electrolytes are all great options during and post-workout.

Remember you’re always eating for future energy needs, not to make up what you’ve just burned. So eat/think ahead!

Join me at Pole Convention to learn much more about nutrition for pole athletes and how to use the power of food to up your pole game!

Ellen Lovelace
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