Happy Workout Wednesday! Today I’m sharing with you a quick and dirty post about fueling your fitness through snacks. Carbs and protein are the name of the game, and trust me, the options are endless! Here’s a peak at some of my favorite daily and pre-workout snacks.
How do you fuel your fit?
Crossfit Query: I work out after work. Lunch is at noon, which is a long time ago. What fuel can I eat between noon and my workout to keep my energy levels up, but not make me feel sick during my workout? Are protein drinks good fillers for midday snacks or to drink in the car on the way to the gym?
Whether you’re looking to fuel your WOD, or for day-to-day fuel in the form of snacks between meals, the answer to the timeless snacking question is essentially the same: a balance of protein and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help provide you with the energy needed to crush your workout, while adding protein will provide some fullness and quiet the ravenous “hangry” voice between meals. Regarding the size, a snack should be anywhere from 100-250 calories depending on the heftiness of your midday meal (a lighter lunch may require a more substantial snack, while a well-balanced plate usually calls for a lighter bite). If you stay within that range, aiming for a 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, you should feel energized, yet light and swift heading into the gym.
Examples of afternoon, pre-workout or daily routine snacks could be:
- Overnight or quick cooked oats mixed with plain Greek yogurt topped with cinnamon
- Hummus and whole wheat pita and/or sliced veggies
- Half a peanut butter and banana whole wheat bread sandwich
- A hard boiled egg sliced and served atop a rice cake
- Handful of corn tortilla chips and small serving of guacamole
- Half a steamed sweet potato drizzled with almond butter
- Canned fish (tuna, sardines) and whole grain crackers
- A bar: try a KIND bar, Luna bar, Health Warrior chia bar, or PROBAR
But I’m on my way to the gym- I need something on the go! Portable beverages can certainly be a convenient option when your fueling takes place in your car or on the train, but the carbohydrate-protein balance still applies here, and so a protein shake may not be ideal.
First, everyone’s protein needs vary, but I am guessing that a full serving of a protein drink before hitting the gym not only comes close to half your protein needs for the day (better to space it out), but it is also A LOT of protein sitting in your gut, which could potentially cause some GI discomfort. Furthermore, most protein powders give you more protein than carbohydrates (hence the name), so it won’t give you quite the boost of energy needed for a workout like a carb-containing snack will. Protein drinks make excellent POST-workout options, with additional carbohydrate for replenishment. If a portable drink is more your thing, try preparing the following blended creations at home and enjoying them 30-60 minutes before your exercise:
- Smoothie made with 1 Tbsp peanut butter (or powdered nut butter, like PB2), banana, and low-fat cow’s milk or unsweetened almond milk
- Blueberry Avocado smoothie with handful of pumpkin seeds on the side or tossed in
- Kale, mixed berry, almond butter smoothie
- Vanilla Tofu Smoothie