Optimal Ways To Fuel Your Fitness

January 18, 2016

Optimal Ways To Fuel Your Fitness

Optimal Ways To Fuel Your Fitness


The Sea to Sky Corridor is a spectacular place to be active, whether you're skiing, cycling, hiking, downward dogging or hitting up a CrossFit class. Getting the most out of these activities relies heavily on how we nourish our bodies. 


Sport nutrition experts agree that the type, length and intensity of activity matters just as much as the quality and source of fuel. Makes sense, right? Running a marathon requires a different fuel regimen than resistance or cross-training. 


In all forms of fitness, there's a complex interplay of body processes and metabolic pathways. Carbohydrates, fats and protein in our foods eventually yield water, carbon dioxide and ATP (adenosine triphosphate, a.k.a. the body's energy currency). Simply put, we need all three macronutrients in the diet to fuel our fitness.


The favoured source of fuel for our muscles is glucose, which gets stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Protein can help sustain long endurance activities when glucose stores run low, and it assists in muscle fiber recovery and tissue repair. Fat offers a concentrated source of energy in low to moderate-intensity exercise.


During a workout, be mindful of how your system reacts to certain foods or meals that you consumed beforehand. To offset any tummy troubles, aim to eat smaller quantities of real, whole foods prior to working out. 


Here's a snapshot of what to eat before and after exercise: 




2-3 hours 

  • Low to moderate glycemic carbohydrates along with some fat and protein will digest more gradually and help sustain your energy. 
    Examples: baked yam drizzled with coconut oil, banana slices and almond butter, veggie omelette, avocado berry smoothie, coconut granola, lean chicken curry with spaghetti squash.

15 minutes

  • Fast-absorbing source of energy.
    Examples: apple, pear, dates, berries (unless fruits cause gastrointestinal upset).


  • Consuming a ratio of 4:1 carbohydrates to protein within 30 minutes of exercise has been shown to improve performance and accelerate recovery in athletes.
    Examples: kale banana smoothie and hard boiled egg, jicama salad, unsweetened coconut chips and pumpkin seeds, lemon cashew bar


  • Depending on the intensity and length of activity, we generally lose about 1 liter of fluid per hour of exercise through sweat. It's always best to keep a water bottle nearby.
  • We also lose electrolytes through sweat. A simple way to replenish these minerals and restore energy is coconut water. The balance of electrolytes in coconut water is almost the same as that in our blood! It also contains naturally occurring sugar for a quick source of energy. Known in Hawaii as "noelani" (or heavenly mist), coconut water is nature's electrolyte sport drink. 

Ultimately, listening to your body and experimenting with different meal variations will help determine which fuel sources work best for you.

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