Real Food Refueling During Exercise

Maria leading a training hike to Camp Muir with the American Lung Association Climb for Clean Air 2004

Real Food Refueling During Exercise

Carbohydrate ingestion during exercise can reduce muscle glycogen breakdown. During a long hike, snowshoeing, or intense bike ride, replenishing energy stores is key. Some athletes rely on sports energy gels that contain quick-digesting sugars to provide a burst of energy and top off glycogen stores as they fatigue during longer efforts.

However, some endurance athletes do not want to consume a gel, a sugary sports drink or a bar packed with synthetic ingredients and prefer real food refueling. Real foods can be just as effective as sports nutrition products. Although sports nutrition products can be a good choice, not to mention convenient, whole foods are a good choice because of the wide variety of nutrients in them, including antioxidants. Antioxidants in food can help reduce oxidative stress, promote recovery and improve performance.

Fluids should always be consumed along with solid foods during training to aid in absorption of the carbohydrate. Read more on hydration.

Keep in mind that the real foods will take longer to absorb than a gel, and that the fiber content might be too much during races for those with sensitive stomachs. Some athletes have increased difficulty in digesting and absorbing food at high intensity. It might also take a bit of chewing. So, with all refueling regimens, practice and see what works best.

And utilize these guidelines along with optimal pre-exercise and post-exercise nutrition strategies.

The majority of athletes will perform better when they fuel properly according to these guidelines during workouts lasting longer than 75 minutes.

1:15 to 3 hours: 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour.

3+ hours: 30 to 90 grams of carbohydrate per hour

Use the table below to calculate how much you might need. The serving size of provides 25-35g of carbohydrate, which is the equivalent of most gels.

 

Type of food Serving size for 25-30g of carbs
Banana 7 oz. (31 g)
Raisins 2.5 oz box (35g)
Medjool Dates 1.5 dates (35g)
Small pitted dates 5 dates (40g)
Dried apricots 5-6 apricots (30-35g)
Dried pineapple 1.5 rings (30g)
Dried Mango, cut into bite size pieces 40 grams (34g)
Honey 1 Tbsp (28g)
Fig Bars 3 (33g)
Yoplait Original Yogurt Strawberry 2 gm fat 6 oz. (27g)
Boiled Potato 2 ½ “ diameter, 136 grams (28g)
Baked Sweet Potato 2 ½ “ diameter, 114 grams (24g)

Maria Faires, RD is a mountaineering fitness and nutrition expert.

Sources

What Should I Eat before Exercise? Pre-Exercise Nutrition and the Response to Endurance Exercise: Current Prospective and Future Directions

Metabolic and Performance Effects of Raisins versus Sports Gel as Pre-Exercise Feedings in Cyclists

Carbohydrate ingestion during prolonged exercise: effects on metabolism and performance

Performance Effects of Carbohydrate Ingestion between Bouts of Intense Aerobic Interval Exercise

Exercise and oxidative stress: potential effects of antioxidant dietary strategies in sport

 

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Gym in a Bag Travel Workout with Bands

As a dietitian and personal trainer, I am committed to my personal fitness goals and showing others how they can be too, in any situation. Even on a sailboat in a remote bay!

One of my strategies is to take a “gym in a  bag” workout band set with me when I travel on our sailboat. It allows me to get a great workout, and maintain my fitness and weight even if I am away from my gym. And it is a bargain price!

I like to use a mat but prefer a smaller kids mat or a folding travel mat to save space in the boat. I’ve linked to the ones I suggest below.

Doing a chest press on our boat in Echo Bay, Sucia Island, Washington.

For more about my travel workouts when I sail go to this post.

For more “travel no equipment workouts” go to this post.

For simple tips to keep in shape when you travel go to this post.

Here is a workout you can do with your bands. Select a color of band that you can perform the exercise with good, safe technique with the amount of repetitions according to your goals. Please wear glasses to protect your eyes when using your bands in the event one breaks.

The American College of Sports Medicine gives guidelines for the amount of repetitions depending on your goal. For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance.

I suggest trying this at one first before your trip so that you are familiar with how to do the exercises. Then you can more easily adapt your setup to the boat. I have an eye hook and a carabiner like the one shown below that can take a 400 pound load safely.

Type Exercise Anchor Point Band Color
Warm Up Walk for 10 minutes
Quad Squat Under Feet
Ham Lying Hamstring Curl Bottom Side Of Door
Back Standing Back Row Middle Side Of Door
Chest Standing Chest Press Middle Side Of Door
Hips/Glutes Standing Lateral Walk Under Feet
Biceps Standing Biceps Curl Under Feet
Triceps Triceps Overhead Extension Top Side Of Door
Shoulders Standing Lateral Raise Under Feet
Rear Shoulder Seated High Row Bottom Side Of Door
Rotator Cuff External Rotation, sit Bottom Side Of Door
Calves Anchored Calf Raise Bottom Side Of Door
Core Stability Drawing-In Maneuver Progressions Floor
Core Standing Core Rotation Middle Side Of Door
Core Anti-Rotation Band Press Out Middle Side Of Door
Low Back Bird Dog Floor
Shin Toe Raises Sitting on chair

 

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Simple Tips for Staying In Shape When You Travel

Simple Tips for Staying In Shape When You Travel

Many travelers believe the obstacles, pressures and limitations of frequent travel are the real culprits behind their unhealthy habits. The experts know better: People who make exercise and healthful eating a priority in their daily lives don’t abandon those habits when they’re on the road.

Here are some strategies for choosing and committing to a healthier lifestyle:

* Build in incentives. Give yourself something to look forward to. Pick a scenic route for a walk or run. Exercise at your favorite time of day.  Swim in a great pool. Try out new equipment. Take an exercise class you haven’t done before. Schedule a massage after a workout.

* Be flexible. You’ll short-circuit your regimen if you limit yourself to an equipment-dependent routine. Throw in a walk or a run, a hike in the mountains or around town. And use what’s available. In your hotel room, I suggest doing some body weight exercises. Use a towel and a chair as props for a stretch-and-tone routine for the entire body. A cardiovascular workout is as close as a hotel’s or an office building’s stairs: Run up and down as many flights as you can in whatever time is available. Take a brisk walk outside during lunch or a break.

* Pack your equipment. Lightweight exercise bands, TRX or a jump rope don’t take up much room. Some hotels also provide everything from mats and a foam roller to a stationary bicycle or treadmill to free weights for in-room use.

* Exercise in little bits. It’s okay if you don’t have an hour to spare; you don’t need a lot of time to work out effectively. Use small chunks of time, as little as five minutes, to exercise wherever you can in the early morning, during a break in the day, between meetings. No one ever said you had to do them all at the same time. A couple of stretches here, some push-ups and planks there, a few yoga postures, a quick run on the stairs, a brisk walk around the block, some deep breathing, all help. And it all adds up.

* Plan ahead. Search online or call ahead for local facilities and resources such as health clubs, YMCAs or YWCAs, or community centers.

* Healthy eating on the road is important too. Here are some tips for eating and exercising on the road.

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