By: Alonso Chavarriaga
Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM, is an expert on health and happiness and recognizes the importance of proper fuel for your body. An avid marathon runner and endurance athlete herself, Scritchfield believes there are several things you can do to improve your training, fuel your workouts, and reap more benefits.
Boosting Energy the Natural Way
Energy can be boosted naturally. When eating before a workout, don’t make the mistake of avoiding carbs. As Scritchfield puts it, “When you think of calories, think of it as energy because that’s what they are.”
For starters, avoid feeling anxious about eating foods, especially before hitting the gym. There may not always be a “perfect food” close by that you can eat, but that shouldn’t mean avoiding food altogether. “You’re there to build and fire up your metabolism,” says Scritchfield, but you may actually be hurting your metabolism if there’s no fuel to draw from. Staying properly hydrated is also important, so drink plenty of water. For fast rehydration, drink coconut water.
Energy drinks are packed with B vitamins, and caffeine is a stimulant, but neither will give you the long-term energy you need. Instead, opt for whole foods such as lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. It may sound like common sense to just eat heathy foods before a workout, but food anxiety prevents your mind from readily accepting any food.
According to Scritchfield, the three things you want to focus on are protein, electrolytes, and carbs. Eating something light but nutritious an hour or two before your workout can go a long way, and following up with a protein shake will ensure your muscles can repair and build as needed.