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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Maria’s Sailboat Travel Workout

We have a sailboat in the San Juan Islands in Washington and when we are on it I like to keep up with my workout. The workout below is a simple workout that I can do on the sailboat, at the dock or on shore with minimal equipment. I keep a set of exercise bands on the boat and pull out two paper plates. I’ve recently added a foot and leg stretching strap to my equipment collection. It has a heel cradle that allows for a comfortable fit into the strap and is ideal for stretching my foot, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and inner and outer thighs.

Even if you are not boating, this makes a nice workout for travel!

My workout travel bag ready to be packed for a weeklong sailing trip.

 

I also take my TRX with me for an even more intense body sculpting session. At our sailing destination I look for a spot to anchor it, on a tree, playground equipment or post and enjoy the change of scenery for my workout. See my blog post here for a complete demonstrated TRX workout. And see this post for a workout with links to video demonstrations.

I use all the items above when I travel. The Intey Pullup Loop Bands are great resistance for a variety of exercises to work arms, legs, back and glutes.

And the Black Mountain is a gym in a bag! It has bands of various tensions, a door anchor, handles, an ankle strap and an instruction booklet. For a complete workout using these bands go to this post. 

Using the foot stretch strap to stretch my hamstrings.

Body Weight, Loop Band and Paper Plate Sailboat Travel Workout

Instructions: Initially, try each exercise and see if it works on your boat and see if the exercise seems appropriate for you. If one exercise just doesn’t work, omit it. There are plenty others to challenge you!

I do not have instructions for every exercise but I think most you will be able to find on the internet. For subsequent workouts,  go through each of the exercises at least once. If you’d like more, do it again!

The first workout can be done in the boat using a large or the small yoga knee pad. I typically will do this when our boat is motoring to our next destination. The second workout is one that I do on shore using a picnic table. I have found I do not like to take a yoga mat to shore but you certainly could and do the Boat Workout.

In Boat or on Yoga Mat

Arm Circles

Leg Swings

Standing Opposite Elbow to Knee

1 Leg Step Squat on Step

½ Jacks

Front Arm Running Jacks

Pushups with or without paper plates

Bridge with Reach

Crab with Reach

Split Stance Kneeling Adductor

Frog Squat

Dirty Dogs

Single-leg Cross-body Punches

High Knees

Forward Leaning Lunge

Pillar Bridge with rotational reach

Side Plank Leg Lifts

Pillar Plank to forearm plank

Glute Lifts on bench or step

Justin Tucks

Bulgarian Lunge

Crab Toe Touch

½ Kneeling Twist

Y, T, I, W. 4 reps each with 8 second hold

Prone Shoulder extension (palms up, arms by side & lift)

Prisoner Squats

Seated Shoulder W

Diagonal Arm Lift from knees

Fire Hydrant

Thoracic Rotations

Seated Bench Windmills

Side Plank

Plank

Serratus Press

Paper plate hamstring curls

Lunge with paper plate

Open Books

Low Ab March

Bird Dog

Cat Camel

Foot Prints, aka, glute heel presses

Mt. Climbers

Reach, roll, lift and hold

Scap Retractions prone

Stretch: Chest, IT, Calf, Hip Flexor, Piriformis, Quad, Ham, Child’s Pose, Pigeon, Child’s Pose with hands on bench

 Picnic Table Workout (No Mat Required)

Justin Tucks

Cook Squats

Arm Circles

Leg Swings

Squat and Reach

Jumping Jacks

Single-leg Cross-body Punches

Skater Jumps

8 high knees to Jump tuck

Seated Shoulder W

1 Leg Squat Touchdown

Windmills, Standing or sitting

Romanian Deadlift with hop

Scap Retractions Standing

Monster Walks with Loop Band around thighs or ankles

Split Squat or Bulgarian

Balance Triplanar Foot Taps w band around lower thighs

Pushup on Bench

Forward Leaning Lunge

Triceps Dips

Prisoner Squats

Serratus Press on bench

Stretch:

Quad, Ham, Chest, IT, Calf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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