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Pre-Exercise Snacks & Meals for Events and Endurance Training: By Lauren

She Rocks Fitness is excited to have Lauren write another post on Hump Day! Make sure you try out some of her suggestions before your run, bike ride, or circuit training this week and weekend. She Rocks Fitness is a HUGE fan of Almond Butter! It is a great addition to snacks and meals before my long runs on the weekend. It’s amazing!

Hey She Rocks Fitness readers, its Lauren again and I am back to follow up on my previous posts and give you some ideas for pre-exercise snacks/meals for endurance event training or exercise lasting longer than 3 hours. With prolonged exercise it is essential that you add even more fat and protein to a complex carbohydrate base to ensure the slow release of carbohydrates for energy. With prolonged exercise durations your body has the potential to run out of the glucose your body stores for quick conversion to energy. When this happens your body will either begin to burn fat, if it is available, or muscle, if it can’t efficiently convert your fat stores. Your body, naturally, has more fat stores to use for for energy than carbohydrates, which is why training your body to burn fat efficiently is just as important as training for your event. And the last thing you want your body to do is to convert those hard earned muscles in to energy. With all of this in mind, your goal should be to find a snack that will work for you on the day of your event, and that is higher in healthy fat. Adding some protein is key for slow carbohydrate absorption, but should be kept in moderation, because your body’s protein to energy conversion process is the most inefficient compared to carbohydrate and fat conversion.

One of my favorite additions to my meals prior to extended durations of exercise is chia seeds. And, yes, I am talking about those same seeds you may have used to grow a chia pet a couple of decades ago. The use of chia seeds for endurance events dates back to the Aztecs for many reasons, only a few of which I will mention. Chia seeds are believed to slow the release of the carbohydrates you consume with them, giving you lasting energy. They naturally absorb and retain water, keeping your body hydrated. And they have a nutritional profile comparable to dark leafy greens and salmon. You can read more about the benefits of chia seeds here.

Chia seeds can be used in the same way you use ground flax seeds, but you may have to increase the amount of liquid that goes along with them because of their “gelling” effect. They have an added benefit over flax seeds, because they do not need to be ground before consumption to receive the full nutritional benefits. You can find them at your local health food store or online. Personally, I enjoy them in cooked oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies.

A few ideas for snacks higher in fat and protein for workouts exceeding 3 hours in length or workouts designed to train for an endurance event would be:

  • 1/2 C of oats cooked with milk, almond milk, water, or some combination, topped with 1 serving of fruit, 1 Tbs freshly ground flax or chia seeds, 1 Tbs nut (almond, peanut, or sunflower) butter, and agave nectar to taste
  • 1/3 C of oat bran cooked with milk, almond milk, water, or some combination and 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds, topped with 2 eggs over easy/medium/hard, salt, pepper, and salsa served with an 8 oz. glass of no-sugar-added fruit juice or a serving of fruit on the side
  • 1 whole grain bagel toasted and topped with 2 Tbs nut butter and 1 banana and served with an 8 oz. glass of low fat milk
  • 1 whole grain bagel toasted and topped with 2 Tbs cream cheese and 2 tsp jelly or jam and served with an 8 oz. glass of orange juice
  • Stir fry made with a little oil, 1 C cooked rice and any vegetables you have in the fridge and served with an 8 oz. glass of no-sugar-added fruit juice.

These ideas will be a great way to get you started, or give some new things a try. I hope you enjoy them! Again Feel free to contact me at l.christine.a@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments.

She Rocks Fitness offers At-Home Personal Training, Boot Camps, Yoga, and On-Line Training programs. Make sure to check out She Rocks Fitness.

Contact me at kuhran@sherocksdenver.com or (973) 978-7359.

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