by guest blogger Peggy Kotsopoulos, registered holistic nutritionist, culinary consultant, member of Team Vega, and author of Kitchen Cures: Revolutionize Your Health with Foods that Heal
What you fuel with before your workout makes all the difference in the effort you put out during your workout.
A blend of simple and complex carbs, and sometimes a little bit of protein, will keep you energized no matter whether you are running, kick-boxing, or downward-dogging. But what exactly is the right mix of foods to eat? Here are some nutritional tips for keeping yourself invigorated from warmup to cooldown:
- Complex Carbohydrates: Complex, low-glycemic carbs are slow releasing, so they will sustain you through the duration of your workout, instead of causing you to burn out halfway through.
- Simple Carbs: Simple carbs (or high-glycemic carbs) are converted to sugar quickly in the body, providing an immediate surge of energy. These simple carbs help to immediately fuel your workouts. Pairing high- and low-glycemic carbs together will give you an instant burst of energy and sustain you throughout your workout.
- Protein (optional): For lower-intensity workouts, you may want to eat a small protein snack 30 minutes before your workout. This will help to sustain your energy, as well as provide amino acids for your muscles during your workout.
These are my top 4 favorite pre-workout energy boosts to get the most from your workouts!
1. Sweet potato with coconut oil and cinnamon. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, helping to fuel workouts. They’re also rich in vitamin C, which helps to combat the physical stress of exercise and helps to boost metabolism during workouts. I like to eat sweet potatoes with coconut oil, which provides medium-chain triglycerides that make the snack easily absorbable by the small intestine, for energy. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
2. Sprouted-grain bread with almond butter, apple butter, and a cup of green tea. Although it looks and tastes like regular sliced bread, spouted-grain bread trumps any other bread in terms of the nutrients and digestion! Sprouting a grain activates its enzymes and increases the nutritional profile of the grain. Almond butter provides a great source or protein and healthy fats to sustain energy during your workouts, and the apple butter helps to provide an immediate source of energy. Pair the bread and spread with a cup of green tea for an extra boost of energy.
3. Vega Pre-Workout Energizer. When I need something before a workout to really boost my energy, my favorite simple and effective solution is to drink Vega Pre-Workout Energizer. It contains caffeine and antioxidants from yerba maté and green tea to help to boost energy, mental focus, and endurance. Its high-glycemic sprouted whole grain brown rice syrup is another source of immediate release of energy. Paired with the low-glycemic coconut palm nectar ingredient, the result is both immediate and sustained energy. The drink also contains rhodiola and ginseng, two adaptogenic herbs that help relieve symptoms of stress, fatigue, and weakness, helping to enhance physical endurance.
4. Hummus with red pepper wedges. If you’re looking for a snack to boost energy and satisfy your hunger, hummus with red pepper slices is one of my favorites. Hummus is a good source of protein, carbs, and iron, providing sustainable energy. Iron deficiency is a significant cause of fatigue, low energy, and anemia, especially in premenopausal women. Pairing iron-rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, such as red peppers, helps to increase the absorption of iron.
Peggy Kotsopoulos is a registered holistic nutritionist (RHN) and culinary consultant focused on teaching real health through lifestyle and dietary choices that are easy and delicious. She obtained her RHN designation from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, completed her health educator certification from Hippocrates Health Institute, and graduated from Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. Peggy founded beVibrant—a food-based wellness consultancy. For more information, visit peggyk.com and follow Peggy K. on Twitter @BeVibranthHealth and on Google+.